The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is preparing for the first major expansion of its membership base since it was formally established in 2015.
The development bank currently has 57 members, but reports indicate that another 25 could join in the next wave. These could include Ireland, Canada, Ethiopia and Sudan.
During its setting-up phase after being announced by Beijing in 2014, there was heavy pressure from the United States for countries not to join what it viewed as a challenger to the World Bank. But the big European countries ignored the US and signed up, as did Australia, Israel and Brazil. However, neither Japan nor Canada became members.
On the campaign trail in 2016, senior advisors to Donald Trump said that refusing to join the AIIB had been a mistake.
Operations began in January 2016, and in its first year the bank supported nine projects, including power distribution in Bangladesh, roads in Pakistan and Tajikistan, and hydro power in Pakistan. The bank has a global remit, though is also heavily involved in supporting the One Belt One Road initiative. Loans such as for the Pakistan motorway, that form part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, fall under the OBOR.
Photo courtesy of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.