Free State Premier Ace Magashule has welcomed the launch of the BRICS New Development Bank's Africa Regional Centre (ARC).
In a statement on Friday, Premier Magashule said the centre's launch by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday is historic for the African continent.
"The centre, based in Sandton, Gauteng, shall serve as an opportunity for Africa and other countries of the South to break away from the chains... imposed by global institutions... whose conditions on loans advanced often impede developmental objectives of many developing nations," said the Premier.
The NDB said the centre will be the face of the bank in Africa.
"The BRICS Bank shall provide needed access to funding for African and BRICS countries to enhance infrastructure investment for growth and development," said the Premier.
At the launch, President Zuma said he was pleased with the progress the bank has made in the two years of its existence. This includes the signing of the founding agreement of the New Development Bank, which paved the way for the opening of the bank's head office in Shanghai, China. The issuance of the first set of loans - amounting to US $1. 5 billion dollars (approximately R20 billion) in total - to fund renewable energy projects in member countries is also a significant achievement.
President Zuma said government is confident that the NDB will build on these achievements and grow from strength to strength.
The NDB is a multilateral development bank to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects. The bank will start the process of considering new members and finalise the project pipeline for the second batch of loans to be offered in the 2017/18 financial year.