AIIB welcomes 13 new prospective members

By ZHENG XIN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-24 04:57

Canada's joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank makes it the first country in the Americas to join the organization, the AIIB announced on Thursday.

AIIB's Board of Governors adopted resolutions on Thursday approving bank membership for 13 applicants, bringing its total approved membership to 70. The 13 countries and regions will officially become members once they have completed any necessary domestic processes and deposited the first installment of capital with the bank.

This is the first time the AIIB has welcomed new prospective members to the bank since its launch in January 2016.

"The AIIB is a multilateral financial institution founded to bring countries together to address the daunting infrastructure needs across Asia," said Laurel Ostfield, head of communication and development at AIIB, so Canada's joining shows its "desire to be part of development with the world".

The approved applicants are regional prospective members Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji, Hong Kong and East Timor, as well as non regional prospective members Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Ireland, Peru, Sudan and Venezuela, she said.

AIIB President Jin Liqun said, "The interest in joining the AIIB from around the world affirms the rapid progress we have made to establish the bank as an international institution.

"I am very proud that the AIIB now has members from almost every continent, and we anticipate further applications being considered by our Board of Governors later this year."

Canada's joining illustrates worldwide recognition of China's efforts to improve economic and social development in Asia by investing in high quality, financially viable and environmentally friendly infrastructure projects, said Tu Xinquan, a professor of foreign trade at the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Because Canada is "a very active participant in international economic governance, and also a member that supports globalization and international economic cooperation", its participation "will definitely help boost the global economy", said Tu.

In light of the global economic slowdown, the infrastructure investment, especially in developing countries, offers tremendous development potential, he added.

"It also requires a vast amount of capital, and the participation of member countries will play a very positive role in worldwide economic recovery," Tu said.

Ostfield, the AIIB's communication and development head, said that about a dozen more nations are waiting for membership approval. The door is still open to the United

States and Japan, but the bank hasn't received a request from either country, she said.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and other US allies such as Australia and South Korea are members.

According to the organization, total voting power must equal 100 percent, so existing members will see a small downward adjustment in their voting power when new members join.

China currently holds about 27.8 percent of votes in the bank, the AIIB's website shows.

At its launch in January 2016, there were 57 signatories to the AIIB's Articles of Agreement.

The bank expects towel come more members this year.

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