President says that ‘Brazil is back’ and that the Brics bank can release submissions

The president’s speech took place during the inauguration of former president Dilma Rousseff at the New Development Bank (NDB)

The president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defended, in his first speech in China, the fight against poverty and the reforms of multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and stated that Brazil “is back” on the international stage after an “inexplicable” absence.

“The time when Brazil was absent from major world decisions is in the past”, said the president at the inauguration ceremony of Dilma Rousseff to command the New Development Bank, also called Banco dos Brics – an acronym formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Lula said that the Banco dos Brics “has great transforming potential”, as it “frees emerging countries from submission to traditional financial institutions”.

In addition to the four new members he gained in the recent past – Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay – Lula said that “several others” are in the process of joining. “And I am certain that the arrival of President Dilma will contribute to this process”, she stated.

The fact that a woman commands “a global bank of such magnitude” is in itself “an extraordinary fact”, said Lula. “But the historical importance of this moment goes further”, he amended, saying that the former president of Brazil, who assumes her first public office since being impeached in 2016, belongs to a generation that in the 70s fought to “put practice the dream of a better world – and they paid dearly, many of them with their own lives”.

“Developing countries’ unmet financing needs were and remain enormous,” said Lula, advocating “effective reforms” of traditional financial institutions as a way to increase lending volumes and modalities.

When speaking of reforms in multilateral organizations, Lula mentioned the United Nations (UN)), in addition to the IMF, World Bank, and urged emerging countries to “creatively” use the G-20, the group of richest countries in the world, with “the aim of reinforcing priority issues for the developing world on the agenda International”. In 2024, Brazil will be the president of the G20.

Still on the subject of the New Development Bank, Lula said that the institution has “great transforming potential” as it frees emerging countries “from submission to traditional financial institutions, which intend to govern us, without having a mandate to do so.”

In Brazil, Banco dos Brics funds finance infrastructure projects, income support programs, sustainable mobility, adaptation to climate change, basic sanitation and renewable energies, mentioned Lula in his speech.

seven years later

Dilma returned to public office seven years after being removed from the Presidency in a political context of loss of governance of the Executive. The former president’s impeachment was approved by the Chamber and the Senate in a legal process, justifying the crime of responsibility for the practice of so-called “fiscal pedals” (delays in payments to public banks) and for issuing decrees opening credit without the congressional authorization. In the wake of the political turbulence, the Dilma administration in the Planalto resulted in a serious economic crisis, with a drop in GDP and rising unemployment.

Questioned by foreign authorities and elected last month to head the institution, Dilma was the only candidate, chosen by Lula. Her term runs until July 2025. She replaced diplomat and economist Marcos Troyjo, who was on Paulo Guedes’ team. The former president should earn around US$ 500,000 (R$ 2.5 million) a year at the helm of the institution, equivalent to the amount paid by the World Bank.

The Brics bank was created after a summit meeting of heads of state, held in Fortaleza, in 2014, during Dilma’s term as president. One of the intentions was to expand sources of loans and make a counterpoint to the financial system and multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Currently, the investment portfolio is around US$ 33 billion.

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