The $100bn multilateral organisation was founded last year with 57 founding shareholders in spite of opposition from the US. AIIB is keeping its door open to US, which criticised UK’s “constant accommodation” of China when London announced in 2015 that it would join.
A wave of about 25 African, European and South American countries is set to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank this year,
reinforcing Beijing’s determination to push a global agenda
even as US President Donald Trump rails against the ills of economic globalisation.
Jin Liqun, president of the AIIB, said on Monday that an expanded membership would help boost lending by the $100bn multilateral organisation,
which was founded last year with 57 founding shareholders in spite of opposition from the US.
Ireland, Canada, Ethiopia and Sudan are understood to be among the 25 countries expected to join this year,
with several likely to be inducted at the bank’s annual meeting in June.
The AIIB is keeping its door open to the US, which criticised the UK’s “constant accommodation” of China when London announced in 2015 that it would join.
However, the People’s Daily, an official Chinese newspaper, quoted Jin as saying last November that
the US position may be softening, with officials in Trump’s team disagreeing with Washington’s refusal to join.
“The door is open to others, and though we are not soliciting their membership, they can come to us,”
said Sir Danny Alexander, vice-president of the AIIB.
The bank is also open to the possible membership of Japan,
which alone among Asian economic powers has remained aloof.
“We have applications from a number of Europeans who didn’t join in the first wave, some Asian countries, South Americans and Canada has applied to join,” said Mr Alexander.
“So this year the membership will expand quite substantially” …
As membership in the AIIB expands, China’s voting share in key decisions is set to be pared back,
potentially depriving Beijing of the de facto veto it currently wields.
China’s current voting share is 26 per cent, just above the de facto veto level
in an organisation that requires a three-quarters majority for certain decisions.
Beijing is understood to be willing to relinquish its veto as the price of expanding the bank’s footprint …
The broadening of the AIIB’s membership chimes with a staunch defence of globalisation made by Xi Jinping, China’s president, at the World Economic Forum in Davos this month.
Xi warned of the dangers of protectionism and urged countries not to pursue narrow interests at the expense of others.
One key area for the membership push is Africa, where only Egypt and South Africa have joined.
Carlos Lopes, who recently stepped down as head of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said:
“The fact that three countries — especially Ethiopia — are interested in joining is very significant.”
African countries wanted to show that they were not just recipients of Chinese money but that they were happy to support Beijing’s policy agenda, he said.
“There’s a lot of trepidation in the development world with Trump’s election and Brexit and the lack of clarity in terms of trade,”
said Lopes, now a visiting professor at Cape Town University.
“I anticipate a stronger move towards China from African countries” …
|Source: China-led investment bank attracts 25 new members-FT.com|