Interview: AIIB off to very good start on rising membership, strong support: vice chief

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-16 18:12:30|Editor: An
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JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was off to a very good start thanks to the bank's rising membership and a strong support from around the world, the AIIB's vice chief said Friday.

"AIIB is off to a very good start," Sir Danny Alexander, vice president and corporate secretary at the AIIB, said in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the second annual meeting of the AIIB board of governors.

The second annual meeting was launched earlier in the day in South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju. The first meeting was held in Beijing last year.

About 2,000 participants came here, including delegations of both founding members and new members, academia, international agencies as well as businessmen, financiers and journalists.

During the business session of the board of governors, the multilateral financial institution approved Argentina, the Republic of Madagascar and the Kingdom of Tonga as new members.

Officially launched in January 2016, the Beijing-based AIIB is a multilateral development bank initiated by China and supported by a wide range of countries and regions, which will provide financing for infrastructure improvement in Asia.

"AIIB is very much going in the right direction," said the bank's vice president, citing a growing membership, strong support from its members and a lot of enthusiasm from other countries to join the bank and a high standard in its governance and policy.

To date, the AIIB has approved 2.49 billion U.S. dollars in financing for 16 infrastructure projects in nine countries. Twelve of the projects were co-financed, while four were standalone projects prepared by AIIB staff.

Though it would need to look over for the first four or five years to properly judge the bank's performance, the vice president said the AIIB had strong foundations and good policies.

The first co-hosting by South Korea and the AIIB of its annual meeting outside China would provide an opportunity for two things, Alexander said.

He said the meeting brought together a lot of private-sector businessmen, which is important to the bank in order to mobilize more private-sector capital as well as money from the AIIB and other international institutions.

The vice head saw this year's theme of sustainable infrastructure as a goal that can help tackle climate change and implement the Paris Agreement, a global climate change deal.

Touching on the new members approved earlier in the day, Alexander said the enthusiasm from new members to join the bank showed a good progress the AIIB has made in the first 18 months of operation.

He said the AIIB's mission to invest in infrastructure supported sustainable economic development in Asia, noting that it would be good for the whole world as Asia has most of people in the world, most of economic growth in the world and a lot of growth potential.

The AIIB, he said, will have to continue to develop its program and invest in more projects to be able to meet the expectations of its members.

According to the vice chief, the bank's particular focus would be placed on three areas: sustainable infrastructure that will help countries tackle climate change and economic challenges; connectivity as the bank plays a role in supporting closer connections between members in Asia; mobilizing more private-sector capital as the scale of needed money cannot be met by international financial institutions and governments alone.