China-backed AIIB seeks cooperation, looks to add new members

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BEIJING: The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) stressed its plan to cooperate with other development banks at its first annual meeting in Beijing on Saturday, and said it was taking applications for new members.The bank’s board approved its first four deals worth $509 million on Friday, with three projects co-financed with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The co-financed projects are a slum renovation in Indonesia and highway construction in Pakistan and Tajikistan. A power grid upgrade project in Bangladesh will be solely financed by AIIB.

“We are working on a number of additional projects and look forward to bringing them to our Board for its approval later this year,” said AIIB President Jin Liqun.

AIIB was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping two years ago and began operations in January. It counts 57 founding member countries and $100 billion in committed capital. AIIB plans to invest $1.2 billion this year.

The bank and the Chinese government emphasized cooperation with other multilateral development banks.

 “AIIB should learn from the successful experience of other multilateral agencies and forge close partnership with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other institutions,” said Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, at the opening ceremony for AIIB’s annual meeting on Saturday.

It is crucial for the AIIB to comply with multilateral agency procedures and rules, Zhang added.

The bank “is committed to working together with the World Bank, ADB and other organizations on the initiative to formulate quantitative targets for high-quality infrastructure investment,” said Jin.

Vice-premier Zhang also said that China will contribute $50 million to a new fund set up by AIIB to support member countries with project preparations.

The AIIB is looking to expand its numbers this year and will take applications for new members through the end of September, Jin said.

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