The wait is finally over.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the first multilateral financial institution launched by China, will open for business on Jan. 16.
The bank was formally established at the end of 2015 with 57 countries agreeing to be members, 19 of which are Asian. The first batch of loans is expected to be approved by the middle of this year, reported People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.
The AIIB’s mandate will be to fund projects both inside and outside of Asia.
From 2010 to 2020, Asian countries will need $800 billion to invest in infrastructure construction every year, according to data from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). However, current international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the ADB will have a hard time meeting the huge demand for infrastructure investment, said the paper.
In an exclusive interview with People’s Daily, Li Zhuohui, chairman of the ASEAN Foundation, said that Indonesia is in urgent need of a partner such as the AIIB, and he believes the AIIB will contribute heavily to new construction and stimulate the economic potential of many countries in this region.
The AIIB is also expected to play an important role in reducing poverty in Asia. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said that anyone concerned about issues of poverty and inequality should welcome this kind of bank, which will help developing countries develop their economies and create new jobs.
The AIIB will improve the interconnectedness of ASEAN countries and help accelerate the pace of ASEAN integration, senior researcher Chen Gang, with the East Asia Institute at the National University of Singapore told People’s Daily.