Proposed BRICS Development Bank Should Focus On Improving Population Health

“Leaders of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) nations met in Durban, South Africa, last week (March 26-27), for their fifth annual summit, and made an intriguing decision: to establish between them a new development bank,” a Lancet editorial states. “The bank would mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and could one day rival the World Bank and International Monetary Fund,” the journal writes, adding, “However, the BRICS leaders could not reach an agreement over the bank’s size and infrastructure at the summit.”

“Some observers have since speculated that it could take years to negotiate contributions from the countries, the location of the headquarters, and the appointment of a leader for this first BRICS institution,” the editorial continues. The article highlights a number of additional issues, noting that “in the final communiqué from the summit, health issues were notably absent” and “there was no mention of the Delhi communiqué, agreed by the BRICS health ministers in January, which identified several priority areas for the nations.” The editorial concludes, “These issues are hard to ignore, especially as they represent threats to both the health and economies of these nations. If a BRICS development bank does emerge, a focus on improving population health could be its wisest investment” (4/6).