Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank opens for Business

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The inaugural meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Board of Directors was convened in Beijing on January 17, 2016. The Board of Directors is made up of 12 Directors, of which 9 Directors represent regional members and the others non-regional members. Mr. Jin Liqun, President of the AIIB, chaired the meeting.

The Board approved key policies to enable the start of the Bank’s operations. These include: the 2016 Business Plan and Budget, and the Bank’s policies on compensation and benefits, finance and pricing, operational and corporate procurement, financing operations and the Public Information Interim Policy. The Board also discussed the Bank’s proposed environmental and social policy framework, anticipating final approval by late February, and the process and timetable for admitting new members into the Bank.

The AIIB’s Board of Directors serves on a non-resident basis and is expected to meet quarterly.

The AIIB, which will be located in Beijing, will be a new multilateral financial institution designed to provide financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia. The Bank is expected to foster sustainable economic development, create wealth and improve infrastructure connectivity in Asia by investing in infrastructure and other productive sectors. It will also promote regional cooperation and partnership in addressing development challenges by working in close collaboration with other multilateral and bilateral development institutions.

Its President- designate Jin Liqun has a piece on the historic moment. He tries to answer the need for the Bank:

The recent historic launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been highly anticipated – and rightly so. With the start of operations, the AIIB joined the family of multilateral financial institutions in supporting broad-based economic and social development in Asia. Sound and sustainable infrastructure investment will lead to better development outcomes, improve the lives and livelihoods of Asia’s citizens, and generate positive spillover effects in other parts of the world.

Over the past year, meeting with people from around the world and various walks of life, I have frequently been asked to explain why another multilateral development bank is needed, and how the AIIB will be different from, say, the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.

The answers are clear. The role and importance of Asia in the international arena have increased, yet the region faces severe infrastructure gaps and thorny bottlenecks. Asia’s infrastructure investment needs have grown exponentially, and the AIIB’s resources, quite simply, will increase the pool of multilateral resources available to help meet them.

There is, moreover, ample space for the AIIB to help its members to modernize roads, rails, and ports; enhance access to electricity; expand telecommunications services; advance urban planning; and provide clean water and sanitation services. We will do it well. We will do it right. And we will do it collaboratively, as a reliable and complementary development partner.

The AIIB’s founding members have a clear management vision: We will set a clear and high bar for organizational performance and governance, by upholding openness, transparency, accountability, and independence as its core institutional principles.

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