The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) could soon gain Saudi Arabia as its tenth founding member. The multinational lender continues to expand its global reach and aims to help member states reduce their dependence on the US dollar and euro.
The New Development Bank (NDB), part of the BRICS group of major emerging economies, is currently holding talks with Saudi Arabia to add the kingdom to its tenth membership, the reported Financial Times (FT)on Sunday.
The move is expected to cement ties between the Shanghai-based lender, established in 2014 by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, and the world’s second largest oil producer.
“In the Middle East, we attach great importance to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and are currently in a qualified dialogue with it”according to the FIS in a statement FT present.
Founded with the aim of financing infrastructure and sustainable development in member states and other emerging economies, the NDB has expanded its membership to include Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Egypt. It has so far provided $33 billion for more than 96 projects in the five founding member countries.
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The multinational financial institution is preparing for a formal assessment of its funding options, which have been rocked after multiple waves of Western sanctions hit Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. The annual meeting of the BRICS bank is scheduled for May 30th and 31st.
For Riyadh, membership of the bank offers the prospect of strengthening ties with BRICS member states. The five economies account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly a quarter of global GDP.
The talks also come at a time when Saudi Arabia and China are stepping up their cooperation. In March, Beijing brokered a landmark deal between the kingdom and Iran, helping ease regional tensions. Saudi Arabia has also significantly expanded its energy ties with China.
The Saudis are expected to become another financially reliable shareholder in NDB as the international lender assesses its ability to mobilize funds. The sanctions against Russia have raised concerns about the bank’s dependence on Moscow, which holds a stake of around 19 percent.
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