The AIIB as a new player in infrastructure financing: “We are lean, clean and green”
AIIB has been established as a complementary institution to the Western-style development banks to better represent the interests of Asian economies. How will AIIB achieve this goal?
Jin Liqun: AIIB’s mission is to invest in infrastructure and other productive sectors to improve economic and social outcomes in Asia. Funded by the taxpayers from our 87 members, AIIB has been applying high standards of governance based on international best practices to build the institution. As a result, our triple A rating from three major international credit rating agencies has recently been reaffirmed. While a startup right now, we aim to be a bank of choice for the sustainable infrastructure investment that will drive Asia’s future. We are driven by our core values of Lean, Clean and Green. Lean because we have a focused mandate and we strive to be nimble and client-focused. Clean because we operate to the highest standards with zero tolerance for corruption. And Green because we support our members to meet their nationally determined commitments under the Paris Agreement.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is often criticized for its lack of transparency regarding tenders and difficult conditions for developing countries. Is there a connection between the Belt and Road Initiative and AIIB and what lessons can AIIB draw from this critique?
Jin Liqun: AIIB is an international organization with shareholders from around the world. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an initiative of the Chinese government to improve economic ties across the region. One of AIIB’s priorities is to promote cross-border connectivity, which has a natural overlap with BRI. AIIB will consider projects located in its members that satisfy our standards for financial viability, environmental sustainability and acceptance by local communities. Broad consultation, strong governance and strict standards will be critical to the success of BRI. Over the last three years, AIIB has done a lot of work drafting its own policies on environmental protection and transparency. In the spirit of cooperation and mutual support, AIIB is ready to share our experiences building our institution with companies who are seeking to improve their environmental and social governance.
AIIB projects in the past two years have been funded through cofinancing with the World Bank and ADB. Does AIIB also plan to make independent calls for tenders and, if so, when can we expect the first call for tenders? What should future AIIB funding priorities be then? How can German companies be involved in the realization of infrastructure projects?
Jin Liqun: Cofinancing partnerships have been key to AIIB’s early momentum and demonstrate the value of collaboration across the MDB community. Currently, 65 percent of AIIB-approved projects are cofinanced with other MDBs and 35 percent are stand-alone projects. We aim to increase the percentage of stand-alone projects in the future. AIIB follows three thematic priorities in its funding: (1) Sustainable Infrastructure; (2) Cross-border Connectivity and (3) Private Capital Mobilization. We focus on supporting projects aligned with these strategic priorities. Asia’s economic development offers enormous market opportunities for developed countries, including Germany. One feature of AIIB investment operations is global competitive procurement. German companies, with advanced manufacturing and technology strengths, are welcome to participate in the competitive bidding of contracts issued by the bank. All tender opportunities are posted on our website at www.aiib.org.