South America starts Bank of the South

Finance ministers from seven South American nations gathered on 9 October to found the Bank of the South (Banco del Sur) to be based in Caracas. The Bank of the South will have the mandate to apply international human rights treaties, including cultural and social rights, whereas the World Bank says that its business is not concerned by these treaties. Furthermore, the Bank of the South should, if the heads of State agree, be founded on the principle of one country, one vote. Ministers have not yet decided details regarding the new institution’s funds and the organization of its members.

Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela reportedly have different objectives for any new regional Bank. Venezuela and others have suggested that Banco del Sur become the IMF of South America. Such an institution would presumably play a significant role in regional monetary policy and provide some form of balance of payments finance. Have less need for protection of its reserves; Brazil is reportedly more interested in steering Banco del Sur toward servicing the infrastructure investment needs of an expanded Mercosur. Argentina is hedging its alliances with both to ensure that neither gains the upper hand in regional politics. The smaller countries are most interested in an alternative, less bureaucratic or Washington biased source of development finance. The Bank Information Centre provides you with updates at


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