World Bank welcomes AIIB

Updated: 2015-04-08 06:24

By HUA SHENGDUN in Washington(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

World Bank welcomes AIIB

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Tuesday. [LIU XIAOXIAN / FOR CHINA DAILY]

The World Bank will collaborate with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in solving world poverty, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said on Tuesday.

“The fundamental issue for us is, the enemy cannot be other institutions; the enemy has to be the poverty,” Kim said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in advance of the World Bank/IMF spring meetings.

Kim dismissed the notion that the AIIB would challenge to the US-dominated World Bank, saying it has been clear that “this is not a competition, but cooperation, and we have already cooperated in many joint projects”.

The AIIB, which was initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, has had around 50 countries applying to be founding members by the March 31 deadline. Included are key US allies such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said previously that the US “miscalculated” in not seeking membership in the AIIB. “I think maybe the bottom line is we screwed it up,” she said.

The bank is expected to create more capital mobilization channels for countries in Asia, especially developing countries in the Southeast, Central and Southern Asian regions, according to Xinhua News Agency.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said last week that Washington was “ready to welcome" the bank, which is expected to begin operating later this year, and encouraged China to “maintain and advance high standards in institutions” as the two countries “work together to address the challenges of the 21st century”.

“We have made clear to China that the United States stands ready to welcome new additions to the international development architecture, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,” Lew said.

Twenty-one countries, including China, India and Singapore, signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing in October to build the AIIB. As agreed, Beijing will be the host city for the headquarters, according to Xinhua.

The authorized capital is $100 billion, and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be about $50 billion. The paid-in ratio will be 20 percent. Founding members have agreed that GDP will be the basic criterion in determining share allocation among member countries.

“If the world’s multilateral banks, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, can form alliances, work together and support development that addresses these challenges, we all benefit – especially the poor and most vulnerable,” said Kim, who took office by appointment of US President Obama in 2012.

Kim also said to end extreme poverty, the world economy should grow faster in a way that “makes sure some of our vast wealth goes to the poor”; invest in people through “education and health”; and provide “social safety nets as well as building systems to protect against disasters and the rapid spread of disease”.

During the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia on March 28, Xi said China welcomes all countries in the region, as well as partners around the world to join the AIIB.

“We will ... advance complementary and coordinated development between the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and such multilateral financial institutions as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank,” Xi said.

Kim said the new multilateral banks could help bridge financing gaps in areas such as energy and water, as the world is estimated in need of “an additional 1 to 1.5 trillion dollars every year to be invested in infrastructure – roads, bridges, railways, airports, and energy plants”.

“It is our hope - indeed, our expectation - that these new entries will join the world’s multilateral development banks and our private sector partners on a shared mission to promote economic growth that helps the poorest,” he added.

Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.