The Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB) at its fifth annual meeting in Beijing, held on July 28-29, re-elected Jin Liquin president for a second five-year term, welcomed its latest African member, and agreed to hold next year’s get-together in founding member UAE’s capital of Dubai, the lender’s first in the Middle East.
Jin, after his election to a second term, promised to expand the AIIB’s investments “from core infrastructure to the infrastructure of tomorrow – infrastructure that will tackle climate change, enhance connectivity within Asia and the rest of the world, mobilize capital, and bridge the digital divide in Asia”.
The Beijing-based multilateral development bank was founded in 2016 with the goal of improving social outcomes in Asia by investing in sustainable infrastructure in the region and beyond. The bank has expanded from its original 57 founding members to 103 members worldwide, including 10 in Africa, Liberia being the latest. China is by far the largest shareholder in the bank, followed by India, Russia and Germany.
This year’s annual meeting, the first since the pandemic, was originally planned to be held in person but took place online due to travel restrictions. The meeting includes several virtual seminars that focus on, among other things, closing the digital divide by building new digital infrastructures and technologies that will underpin modern economies; the risks, roles and financing structures of private equity investment in emerging markets during the pandemic; the establishment of the AIIB and its mission; the future of regional connectivity; and investing in climate action.
Over the past four years of its existence, the bank has focused on its strategy of mobilizing private capital for emerging market infrastructure investing, positioning itself as the “go-to” institution financing solutions in and to client countries, and promoting the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into fixed-income investments.
Increasingly, the AIIB has adapted its mandate from a focus on traditional infrastructure projects to include those related to health, particularly so since the pandemic’s outbreak. Among its many financing projects, the lender, in early April, made up to US$5 billion available to help emerging countries respond to urgent economic, financial and public health pressures caused by the pandemic.
The proposed facility, which aims to support the region’s quick recovery, offers financing to public and private sector entities and is designed to be flexible and adaptive to emerging demands. It will offer dedicated financing over the next year or so to qualifying projects within its membership.
“The international community needs to come together to pool our resources to help the world navigate the current pandemic and economic upheaval,” Jin said at the time. “This facility will help our clients to overcome immediate financial pressures and maintain critical long-term investments that otherwise may not be possible.”