BRASILIA: The BRICS emerging economic giants will join together to back a single candidate to lead the World Bank, Brazil's finance minister said on Saturday though he did not say whom they would endorse.

With the Bank's directors slated to meet Monday to decide between a US favorite and two developing country challengers, Guido Mantega said Brazil, Russia, India and China will make their choice together -- though not mentioning South Africa, the group's fifth member.

"We will take a position together with the BRICS, making a common choice," Mantega said.

He said the four do not have a common position yet, but would reach one today.

The Bank's directors want to reach a consensus decision for a new president by the end of next week when the Bank and the International Monetary Fund hold their annual Spring Meetings.

The race is between the US nominee, Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim; and economists Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria.

Since the Bank began, the US, by tradition and because it is the largest shareholder, has placed an American in charge of its massive budget to help poor countries develop.

But Washington has faced a challenge for the first time this year, as developing countries raise their voices for a greater say in how the Bank is run.

(Agencies)