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BRICS consider alternative SWIFT funds transfer system

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says BRICS countries have led off consultations on an alternative to the global SWIFT system

BRICS consider alternative SWIFT funds transfer system


BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are considering an alternative to the global SWIFT funds transfer system, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.

“The finance ministers and directors of the BRICS central banks are discussing a full spectrum of issues, including the organization of payment systems and the likelihood of gradually moving on to accounting in national currencies,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti in an interview published on Wednesday.

The SWIFT system which was founded in 1973, is a private global funds transfer system that processes about 1.8 billion orders annually.

Ryabkov continued: “SWIFT system or not, in any case we’re talking about the possibility of creating a multi-lateral payment system for the association that would provide greater independence, and would create a definite guarantee for countries on risks associated with arbitrary decisions in this area that may be made by countries that have the current payment systems.”

Ryabkov's comments come prior to the BRICS summit which is scheduled in the Russian city of Ufa on July 8-9. Russia currently holds the presidency of the group. The summit will see the launch of the $100 billion BRICS New Development Bank.

The two biggest existing multilateral economic entities, the IMF and the World Bank, are headquartered in Washington DC, and the creation of a BRICS bank is likely to be interpreted as a challenge to US-led Western economic influence over emerging markets.

Developing countries have long complained the IMF and the World Bank, founded after the Second World War, have been reluctant to allow due influence to emerging markets.

The idea of the bank was first mooted in Delhi in 2012, and was approved at the 5th BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, last year.

According to Ryabkov, projects at the New Development Bank may include Greek participation. “But this has not yet been discussed,” he said. 

He also said that the BRICS Development Bank should complement the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is to be set up with about $100 billion in capital later this year.

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