With 35 nations signing on as founding members, Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has a reported US$50 billion foundation from which it plans to spur infrastructure growth in developing Asian countries with projects that include hydroelectric facilities.
AIIB was formed by the Chinese government and began formal operations in October 2014. It is a multilateral development bank meant to provide funding for infrastructure projects in developing countries of the Asia region. Reports indicate almost all Asian countries and most major countries outside Asia have joined the AIIB as of April, with notable exceptions being the U.S., Japan and Canada. AIIB rejected North Korea’s application to join its organization.
AIIB, in part because of its location and China’s enormous amounts of bilateral and unilateral lending ability, could become the Asia-based alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, on Tuesday, April 7, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim amongst his many comments, said, AIIB is “potentially a strong ally” and “a great new force,” as it relates to providing means for poorly developed Asian nations to strengthen indigenous infrastructure.
Kim made the comments from Washington, D.C., where the World Bank is headquartered, just weeks ahead of the World Bank Group and IMF 2015 spring meetings being held there, April 17-19.
The World Bank, IMF and the Asian Development Bank, which is based in the Philippines capital city of Manila, have pledged to work with AIIB when possible, according to published reports.
To date, according to China’s state operated Xinhua News Agency, the following nations are listed by AIIB as founding members: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
By Gregory B. Poindexter