The Infrastructure Working Group Report represents a selection of items that affect the infrastructure sector in the BRICS nations. Members of the Working Group understood that the three points for action raised in this report were a priority and should be regarded during the 2015-2016 BBC’s mandate. The issues addressed by the Infrastructure Working Group were considered for the elaboration of related topics presented on the Second Annual Report.
1. Regional physical integration perspective
In order to promote cooperation in infrastructure development among BRICS countries, the Infrastructure Working Group thoroughly investigated existing regional physical integration initiatives involving the BRICS nations. Success stories in terms of technologies, specifications, talent resources, operation, and management were shared among members, thus helping to determine the BRICS infrastructure development potential. Along this mandate, focus was placed on the following initiatives:
- Integration Priority Project Agenda (API) in Latin America: API is made of national, binational and multinational projects with a high impact on the physical integration of the r The projects seek to increase different transportation modes in a viable and suitable way. All the members of COSIPLAN are represented, and there is a balance in the number of projects promoted by each of them. Website: http://iirsa.org/Page/Detail?menuItemId=33;
- Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA): PIDA is a continent-wide program to develop a vision, policies, strategies and a programme for the development of priority regional and continental infrastructure in transport, energy, transboundary water and information and communication technologies (ICT). Website: http://www.au-pida.org/;
- Belt and Road Initiative in Eurasia: this initiative aims to promote the connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas, establish and strengthen partnerships among the countries along the Belt and Road, set up all-dimensional, multi-tiered and composite connectivity networks; and realizes diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in these countries. Website: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/special/silkroad/;
- Trans-Eurasian Belt “Razvitie” in Eurasia: this project envisages creating a geo-economical belt of cooperation on the entire domain between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, forming on the territory of Siberia and the Far East the major components for technological, industrial, social, and cultural development. The main goal is to develop a multimodal infrastructure system, which associates transportation, energy, telecommunication, water, and oil and gas conveyance. Website:http://eng.rzd.ru/newse/public/en?STRUCTURE_ID=15&layer_id=4839& refererPageId=704&refererLayerId=4537&id=106642.
Based on the information shared, and taking into account the concept of integral development, each BRICS nation selected, on behalf of the Infrastructure Working Group, priority projects to promote. Integral Development Projects were considered a priority among Infrastructure Working Group members, since they ensure the basis not only for economic growth, but also for improvement of population’s quality of life, and for environmental preservation. The list of selected projects is presented at the Annex II – Business Interests.
2. New Development Bank
The mission of the NDB is to promote development focused on the developing world. Therefore, the Infrastructure Working Group considered important to define the concept of sustainable development. Both this concept and the idea of Integral Development Projects are aligned to the theme chosen for discussion at the Sixth BRICS Summit: “Inclusive Growth: Sustainable Solutions”. The concepts were also important for the selection of priority projects, which could be supported by the NDB.
The Working Group understood that the development of infrastructure is an important way to promote sustainable development and to achieve the mission of the NDB. Thus, a set of concepts was proposed to help structure the bank, which was delivered on a separate document. It included the following recommendations:
Add to the NDB investment policy (prior to its ratification) a simplified procedure for project selection, including the possibility of providing financial means on the basis of project and/or corporate-wide principles, in order to reduce the timeframe of projects finalization and approval process;
- Identify opportunities for generating economic growth, and foster, fund and insure governments to develop physical infrastructure for: the introduction of new productive spaces, the integration of economic spaces, and the irrigation of economically congested areas;
- Finance early stage feasibility and engineering studies for the development of infrastructure projects that create regional development, giving special attention to the existing projects investigated by the Infrastructure Working Group;
- Finance for the long run all investments tied to any activity that contributes ethically, environmentally and socially to a better income distribution;
- Have the role as or include a Guarantee Fund for sovereign risk to allow for greater use of Project Finance structures and access to wider range sources of finding (e. pension funds, commercial banks, etc.) for infrastructure development in the targeted regions of interest to the BRICS;
- Develop mechanisms to provide Equity Financing for infrastructure projects.
Finally, the Infrastructure Working Group suggested that the BRICS nations try to bring attractiveness to the infrastructure development. Thus, apart from the recommendations made regarding the NDB, the Working Group also made the following suggestions to the BRICS governments:
- Promote attraction factors for pension funds from the BRICS nations to participate in infrastructure projects;
- Implement a credit insurance policy;
- Bring the private sector close to the bank’s early stages so it can contribute more actively on the policies.
3. Thought leadership
Sharing ideas and information among the business community is an important role of the BBC and its Working Groups. Therefore, the BRICS Information Sharing and Exchange Platform (the BRICS Business Portal) was created to stimulate and accelerate the exchange of trade, business and investment information.
To collaborate with this initiative, the Infrastructure Workgroup played an active role in consolidating the BRICS Portal as an exchange platform for all business community. The Working Group also recommended the following topics regarding the BRICS Business Portal:
- Develop a series of web-based seminars to be presented and explained to other BRICS business partners, in order to foster adoption of the new platform;
- Implement an Infrastructure Companies Database, where information regarding the companies related to the Working Groups will be released; Implement an Infrastructure Project Database dedicated to interested investors, where relevant information about priority projects will be released;
- Implement an Exclusive Members Session on the website, where only the Working Groups and the BBC members will be able to login, in order to share information and documents:
- Provide an administrator login and password for each Chairman and Chairman Representative, who will be responsible for uploading documents, scheduling meetings and posting relevant information online;
- Provide a member login and password for each Working Group member, who will be able to consult the information released;
- Publish basic information about other BRICS related entities and class associations:
– Provide links for the countries institutions’ websites;
– Ensure that the registered institutions have an English version of their websites;
Trade fairs of the infrastructure sector were also considered good opportunities for the business communities to meet and promote cooperation among them. Therefore, a list of relevant events hosted in each BRICS nation was elaborated. The final list, which is to be included on the BRICS Portal, is presented at the Annex I – Fairs, exhibitions, and forums.
Additionally, the Infrastructure Working Group invited academic research institutions and thought centers that could provide relevant information regarding infrastructure policies, planning and financing to join the discussions. This was considered a priority, since the existing entities in the BRICS Think Tank Council, nominated by the governments, were distanced from the infrastructure business sector reality.
The Infrastructure Working Group recommended the chosen institutions be included in its business meetings and discussions. The main goal is to enhance the collaboration among the BRICS councils and other BRICS related entities that could improve the debates in the Working Group.
4. General achievements
In addition to the three main topics pointed above, the Infrastructure Working Group also sought to address general deliverables through the 2015-2016 mandate. The Working Group considered fundamental to foster experience sharing among the BRICS countries, and also to define a pattern for decision-making within members. The following list of topics represents the general achievements of the Working Group during the Brazilian chairmanship:
- Attraction of institutions and companies to the Infrastructure Working Group, in order to seek for increased representativeness, share innovation and best practices available;
- Elaboration and establishment of the Terms of Reference, which formalizes activities performed by the Working Group regarding aspects such as proposed goals, chairmanship issues, voting system, communication system, and publicity of documents.
Companies members of the Infrastructure Working Group
- Leader Company: ABDIB;
- Other Companies: Andrade Gutierrez, Camargo Corrêa, CCGI-FGV, Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Russia, Chamber of Commerce of South Africa, OAS, Odebrecht, OHK Steel, Progen, Queiroz Galvão, SINICON, Vale.
- Leader Company: JSC Russian Railways;
- Other Companies: RZD International LLC, Glonass Union (National navigation system provider), National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Foreign Trade Academy.
- Leader Company: Bhartiya Group.
- Leader Company: China Railway Group L (CREC);
- Other Companies: China CNR Corporation Lt, China Ocean Shipping Company, China Railway Construction Corporation, COSCO, CSR Corporation Ltd.
- Leader Company: Transnet Freight Rail (Pty) ;
- Other Companies: ACSA, African Investment Solutions, African Rainbow Minerals, Africa Rising Capital, Barry Angola, DTI, SANRAL, Sekunjalo Investments , South African Railways, Transnet National Ports Authority.