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Zuma Sees BRICS Bank as a Way To Develop without Too Many Strings Attached

July 25, 2014 (EIRNS)—Addressing the South African Parliament yesterday, President Jacob Zuma, one of the founding members of the New Delvelopment Bank under the aegis of the BRICS, said all African heads of state were excited about the bank.

"They see this as an opportunity where we can develop Africa without too many strings attached, which has been with us in our history. We should be excited about this... it’s not a backward movement, it’s a forward movement," he said. "The establishment of the BRICS bloc’s New Development Bank is a forward step for South Africa and the continent,"

President Zuma said. This is a ground-breaking initiative by the developing world, the first of its kind, he told MPs in his reply to debate over his budget vote the day before.

One likely reason behind high expectations is President Zuma’s recent decision to go big on nuclear power. BRICS heads of state are keen to expedite the growth of nuclear power for electricity generation. According to the July 26 Mail & Guardian news daily of South Africa, Zuma has replaced Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as chair of the National Nuclear Energy Co-ordination Committee, which guides all arms of government with a stake in the project. President Zuma has courted the Russians, who appear to have assumed pole position for the right to provide South Africa with a nuclear life-cycle solution, including uranium enrichment, supply, reactor technology, and development of local nuclear skills.

Zuma has exchanged working visits with Russian President Vladimir Putin since March, marking out the Russians as South Africa’s priority partner in the political bloc. Nuclear co-operation has been high on the agenda at both meetings. A nuclear lobbyist close to these developments has told the Mail & Guardian that there is "a typical Zuma deal" on the table, with supporting roles for the Chinese and French, thereby "placating everyone" in order to push the nuclear power generation plan.