Speaking to the press, Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ernesto Samper recapped proposals made by the presidents at the bloc's recent meeting, which also inaugurated the organization's new regional headquarters. Sparking international interest is the proposal spearheaded by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to use the Sucre, the trade currency being used by the Bolivarian Alternative for Our Americas (ALBA), as a regional currency.
"To implement the joint currency of the Sucre, we have to begin with the creation of a regional reserves fund, which is what analysts have proposed as the first step, which is designing the region's financial architecture,” said Samper.
A regional reserves fund and the Bank of the South would use the Sucre to break from the control of the World Bank, IMF and other traditional financial institutions that leaders maintain have historically not acted in regional interests. The Sucre would increase regional sovereignty by eliminating the official use of foreign currencies.
The President of the Technical Commission for Design of the New Regional Financial Architecture- Bank of the South, Pedro Paez Perez told teleSUR, "What we are doing is strengthening trade, strengthening cooperation between countries, without having to go through or pay a portion to the federal reserve, paying North American banks, without having to pay the monopoly that SWIFT has.”
Foreign Minister of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño announced that the Bank of the South will be fully functioning within a few weeks. The Bank will have a capital of US$20 billion, and initial funds to be contributed by Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The Bank of the South will finance infrastructure projects throughout the region, with the objective of deepening integration.
“We need to take advantage of our savings and destine it to investment in our own region. It is for this, my dear colleagues of the greater fatherland, that we need the Bank of the South,” Correa told presidents while meeting in Guayaquil just before the inauguration of the UNASUR headquarters.
To move forward with plans beginning in 2015, the presidents proposed that a panel of economists work to analyze how the fall of oil prices and other global factors that could potentially affect the success of implementing the currency.