Zoellick on India, his successor and the new BRICS bank

Outgoing World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Photo by: Simone D. MCCourtie / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

The World Bank will be providing India billions of dollars this year.

Robert Zoellick said the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries, will be offering close to $1.8 billion in loans to India in the years ahead.

The International Finance Corp., the bank’s private sector arm, will also invest $1 billion in the country this year. Zoellick said this is to help the private sector assist India in meeting its development needs, especially in infrastructure. India plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure in the next five years — half to be financed by the private sector.

The announced funding can be used in the form of guarantees or as part of a special public-private partnership infrastructure facility wherein money will come not just from the bank, but also from the Indian government and the private sector.

“We’re trying to stretch each of those dollars further,” he said.

The outgoing World Bank president was speaking at the end of his five-day trip in India, where he met with government officials, business executives, academics and civil society. Apart from discussing the bank’s role in India, he made the case as to why it won’t hurt to have an American lead the World Bank — if only to keep the United States supporting multilateral organizations.

Zoellick expressed his support as well for the BRICS bank, which Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are planning to set up to provide loans to the developing world. He said the World Bank will want to partner with the BRICS bank as it has done in the past with other regional development banks, such as the Islamic Development Bank.

“We have the benefit of being global and operate in 187 — we have 187 shareholders. We operate in about 120 countries. So, we might be able to share knowledge and then do joint financing,” Zoellick said. He warned, however, that putting up regional development banks is “not an easy sort of task.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.