Outgoing World Bank president Robert Zoellick on Tuesday gave his backing to a new development bank proposed by the leaders of the BRICS emerging countries.
Zoellick said the World Bank would be prepared to work with the new financial institution, which was discussed by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa when they met in New Delhi last week.
While the plans are still in their preliminary stages, such a bank is seen as a potential counterweight to other multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
"As a general principle if the BRICS countries want to develop it we would work with it," Zoellick told the Boao Forum in southern China, according to a transcript posted on the meeting's website.
"We work with the regional development banks, and I have created a series of partnerships with these banks that are likely to be similar to the BRICS bank in that it will probably be more of a financing vehicle than a knowledge and experience vehicle."
Last week's BRICS summit was the fourth since the bloc was formed in 2009.
South Africa joined in 2010 and the five members now account for roughly 18 percent of the world's GDP, 40 percent of its population, 15 percent of global trade and hold 40 percent of global currency reserves.