AIIB likely to engage in more areas, experts say

By CHEN JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-07-30 07:12

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected to engage in more areas beyond infrastructure investment, in order to leverage additional funds from the private sector globally and boost the post-pandemic recovery, analysts said.

Green financing and the digital economy are expected to be listed in the development goals of the AIIB, experts told China Daily on Wednesday after the conclusion of the bank’s fifth annual meeting.

A key challenge is to leverage more international investment, including capital from the private sector and commercial banks, to strengthen the AIIB’s ability to raise funds, said Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and former vice-minister of commerce.

Liu Ying, a senior researcher with Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said the AIIB will strengthen its functions to promote infrastructure investment in related regions, providing financial support with its disposable funds and using more private funds, especially in less-developed regions.

The bank, with almost five years of operational experience, aims to develop into a new multinational development institution to improve connectivity and economic integration among its members, and will expand projects to other productive sectors, AIIB President Jin Liqun said at the bank’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

Jin was elected to a second term as the bank’s president by its Board of Governors during the meeting. His second five-year term will begin on Jan 16, 2021.

The AIIB’s membership increased to 103 economies after the Board of Governors approved Liberia’s application on Tuesday. The bank’s African members now account for more than 60 percent of the continent’s GDP and over 46 percent of its population.

Its membership is now the second-largest among all multilateral banks, and its projects are sustainable and in six continents, including high-quality infrastructure investment projects and those addressing climate change, Finance Minister Liu Kun said in an interview.

The Chinese government will continue to support the bank in its efforts to develop into a high-standard multilateral development institution and promote global economic governance, said Liu.

Bank’s progress seen

On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the 2020 AIIB Annual Meeting via a video link.

Xi urged the multilateral development lender to respond to adjustments and changes in the global economic landscape and engage in cooperation with more development partners.

He called on the AIIB to become a new platform promoting development among all members and facilitating the building of a community with a shared future for mankind in the context of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liu, who was the chair of the fifth Board of Governors of the AIIB, said: “In his opening address, President Xi Jinping spoke highly of the AIIB’s achievements, from the perspective of advocating multilateralism, promoting the common development of its members and promoting the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind. All the participants in the annual meeting have highly recognized and praised the address.”

As COVID-19 is still spreading around the world, consensus can be reached through the AIIB’s annual meeting on how it can play the role of a multilateral development bank, Liu said.

China will help the AIIB to operate in accordance with high international standards and gradually invest in the bank. “We think investment in the AIIB is very worthwhile,” he added.


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