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Emirates Plan To Inject More Capital into the BRICS New Development Bank; Are the Saudis Next?

Aug. 30, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In an Aug. 28 interview with Bloomberg, the United Arab Emirates Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri said that the country’s admission to the BRICS at the Aug. 22-24 Johannesburg summit has created a great opportunity to further raise the Emirates’ capital investment in the New Development Bank (NDB), in which the U.A.E. has been a member since September 2021. “We are actually going to push more” and will “indeed” inject capital into the bank, he said, without specifying an amount.

BRICS membership is “huge to the U.A.E.,” the minister added.

“Joining BRICS will add a lot to the U.A.E. multilateral support to the world. We are focusing on our global trade; the U.A.E. has always been a global hub.... Going to the Global South, that’s the most important aspect where we are focusing on at the moment, and that will grow,” Al Marri said. “While we double down on trade, that will be what we focus on.”

The minister added that it would not be done in detriment to the Emirates’ longstanding ties to the West, explaining that the U.A.E. makes “a differentiation between the reserve currencies and between the trade currencies” and continues to do a lot of business in dollars.

Despite the assurances, Bloomberg’s coverage is very nervous. “OPEC’s third-biggest producer [the U.A.E.] can give more financial muscle to the BRICS lender formed as a counterweight to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.” The coverage notes that the Emirates are one of the few countries to manage over $1 trillion in sovereign wealth capital, and they represent a “potentially deep-pocketed contributor” for the NDB.

OPEC’s largest oil producer, by far, is Saudi Arabia—now also invited to become a member of the BRICS, but not yet in the NDB. Bloomberg continues: “China and India are the top two trading partners for both Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.. Saudi trade with China and India reached a record of almost $175 billion last year, according to UN data compiled by Bloomberg. It was barely $5 billion at the start of the century.”

Bloomberg quotes Anna Jacobs, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, referring to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates: “These countries are not seeking to get rid of their relationship with the U.S. and completely pivot East, but they do see their long-term political and economic interests with Asia and the Global South.”

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