The Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank all expressed support Sunday for the new kid on their block, a $50 billion multilateral lender led by China, which gave the financing operation most of the seed money upon its founding last year. Inside and outside the Asia-Pacific region, more than 30 countries are now members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Additional nations may join by a March 31 deadline, as BBC News reported.
The AIIB is designed to provide project loans to developing countries, with operations beginning by the end of this year.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao and China’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei have conducted discussions about possible cooperation between the two regional lenders, they said at a China Development Forum 2015 session in Beijing, Reuters reported. At the same event, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said her fund would be “delighted” to work with the AIIB, as there was “massive” room for cooperation on infrastructure financing in the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, one of the World Bank’s leaders said Sunday her institution also would be cooperating with the AIIB. “Any new initiative that will mobilize funding in order to fill infrastructure gap is certainly welcome. World Bank really welcomes the AIIB initiative,” Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati told China’s official Xinhua News Agency in an exclusive interview. “We will definitely open for cooperation with AIIB.”
Most of the AIIB’s regional members joined last year, while most of the bank’s nonregional members joined this month. The former encompass India, Indonesia and Pakistan; the latter include France, Germany and the U.K. Conspicuous by their absences on its membership roll are Japan and the U.S. Neither country has expressed support for the venture, which some observers have attributed to their rivalries with China. Among national economies around the world, the U.S. ranks No. 1, China No. 2 and Japan No. 3.
China’s finance minister has previously indicated the AIIB’s approach would be not to compete but to complement existing international institutions such as the ADB, IMF and World Bank. The ADB is based in the Philippines capital of Manila, while the IMF and World Bank both are headquartered in the U.S. capital of Washington.
Eight more countries may join the AIIB by the March 31 deadline, Jin Liqun, secretary-general of the bank’s interim secretariat, said Sunday, according to Reuters. At the start of operations, it will have the approval of shareholders to double its capitalization to $100 billion, the news agency said.