BRICS countries continue to strengthen their influence in the world, China’s Vice Premier of the State Council Zhang Gaoli said on Wednesday.

“We are confident that the tendency of growing status of BRICS countries will persist, and we will continue to boost our influence on the international arena,” Zhang said at the ceremony of opening the first annual meeting of the Board of Governors of New Development Bank (NDB) set up by BRICS member countries.

The vice premier highly assessed the role of NDB in development of BRICS countries noting that establishing the bank allowed to boost the influence of member countries in international financial matters and benefitted the peoples of BRICS countries.

“Chinese government will continue supporting the New Development Bank. We think that by joint efforts of all member countries, NDB will continue to strengthen and contribute to social-economic development of BRICS countries and developing countries,” he concluded.

BRICS is an informal association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The group was founded in June 2006 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and was known as BRIC prior to inclusion of South Africa in 2009. Russia was presiding in BRICS in 2015 and was chairing the BRICS Business Council until April 2016.

The agreement on establishing BRICS New Development Bank was reached on July 15, 2014 in Brazil’s Fortaleza. The bank’s starting capital was set at $100 billion. The Shanghai-headquartered bank has been set up to finance infrastructure projects and projects for sustainable development of BRICS and other developing countries.