With a paid-in capital of $7 billion, Banco del Sur (Bansur), the long-awaited Bank of the South, was launched in December by seven South American member countries. Created by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as part of his broader Latin American regional integration plan, the bank is expected to further minimize the influence of US-led multilateral lenders in the region. Bansur will focus on supporting infrastructure integration projects, many of which were proposed by Chavez. It will also lend assistance in national emergencies and natural disasters.
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