The creation of an SCO bank remains, as before, an important matter high on the SCO agenda, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Dmitry Mezentsev said in an interview with RIA Novosti. "Meeting in Astana in December 2014, the SCO Council of the Heads of Government agreed to instruct the relevant agencies of the SCO member states to continue moving towards building a common financial body: the SCO Development Bank. And that work is continuing," he said.
The SCO Development Bank should, according to Mr. Mezentsev, become a financial tool designed to support, above all, infrastructure projects and provide extensive assistance to project development activities within the SCO framework. However, the absence of this financial institution at the current stage does not rule out the need for deeper economic cooperation among the SCO members, he added.
In 2008, Mr/ Mezentsev recalled, the SCO partners adopted a multilateral economic cooperation programme and an implementation plan for it, and in 2014, the SCO Council of the Heads of Government ruled to analyse the results of the programme, monitor its progress and submit proposals on how to improve trade and economic cooperation.
"The attention focused on trade and economic cooperation and the consistency displayed by the parties indicate that this cooperation is a priority for the SCO," Dmitry Mezentsev stressed. He believes that matters concerning economic cooperation should be put to public debate more actively.
Since the very foundation of the SCO, the task of ensuring regional stability and security has been the focal point of its founders, but the organisation continues to develop and the list of its priorities is expanding, the SCO Secretary-General said. The establishment of the SCO Business Council and Interbank Association, regular SCO business forums and conferences attended by high-ranking officials and representatives of major companies prove that the SCO seeks broader economic partnership.