‘We don't want Western institutions to dictate us what to do’ – South Africa’s Zuma to RT

South African President Jacob Zuma (Reuters / Sumaya Hisham)
With the current world bank system having been established a while ago, time has come for new financial institutions to be developed globally, South Africa's President Zuma told RT. BRICS and its New Development Bank is one of such alternatives, he said.

"We’ve had these old banks that have been established many years back. The world has moved, it has developed. For a number of years we've been calling for the transformation of financial institutions, globally," President Jacob Zuma said in an interview with RT's Sophie Shevarnadze.

"An important development of representativity" is crucial for the new kind of banks, Zuma added, saying that in such institutions you need to be part of them to be involved in decision-making process.

"We now have bank that is an alternative," Zuma said, referring to the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral institution operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). He added that its existence should not be a problem for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank: "What I think should happen is that these banks must change the way they do things," the state leader said.

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"One of the countries which is [a BRICS member] is world’s second biggest economy. How could they say 'we don’t want to trade' with such a country? I don’t think that could happen," Zuma told RT, saying the new institution should be treated as an equal partner.

The new system could also help provide African countries with more development opportunities without being dependent on the West, the president believes. The NDB guarantees that whenever people in the third world need funds, "they are going to be provided [with help], they are going to achieve their objectives without being put under more difficult conditions," Jacob Zuma said.

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"We’ve had difficulties, even with the help that we get. It comes with so many strings attached," Zuma told RT, adding that the lenders "want to dictate what you should do."

"You can’t utilize that kind of assistance the way you want. So, in a sense, it has conditions that will keep you dependent all the time. That’s what we’re trying to take ourselves out of, and we believe that an alternative bank – like BRICS – does provide an opportunity for us," Zuma said.

African countries are still "doing business with the West," the president added, saying that he wasn't making a call to stop it. "I am saying now that there's an alternative, you can make a choice," he said, adding that "BRICS carries quite a sizeable future for many countries."

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Officials of the five major emerging national economies often have consultations, even more of which "at ministerial level" might be needed as the association develops, the South African leader said.

"There’s a great respect among the members. These countries need to work together economically," Zuma said of the block that was initially designed as a group of economic allies. He continued, "It has been important to allow it to flow on its own, because it is a voluntary kind of organization, and if we see the benefits – I think we are going to be in a position to say: Shouldn’t we tighten our relations even more?"

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The trade within BRICS, which members account for a fifth of the world's economic output and 40 percent of its population, has been progressively growing, the South African president said, adding that the countries within it "are not necessarily competing with one another, we are not rushing anything, we are just creating an atmosphere where countries must feel that they are really equals."