Bangladesh’s Finance Minister, AMA Muhith, sent a bill in parliament that would allow the country to pay the capital subscription for AIIB membership. Under this law, Bangladesh will pay $152 million to the bank over the next ten years.
AIIB Names 5 New Presidents
On February 5, the AIIB announced 5 new presidents for the bank. Britain’s former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will hold the post of Chief Secretary in AIIB. Kyttack Hong, who was the former CEO of the Korea Development Bank, will serve as Chief Risk Officer. DJ Pandian, a former official in the Indian Administration Services, will adopt the role of Chief Investment Officer. Joachin von Amsberg, who is currently the VP of Development Finance at World Bank, will hold the AIIB’s Vice President of Policy and Strategy. Lastly, Luky Eko Wuryanto, an Indonesian official, will hold the role of Chief Administration Officer. Salvacion reports that the bank is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2016, and that it is expected to lend between $10 - $15 billion annually for the next five years.
Kenya mulls joining China-led lender
As Munda reports, Kenya is considering joining the AIIB in order to “widen infrastructure spacing” throughout the country. Kenya’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Rotich, has stated that the country is open to many options in “closing its infrastructure gap.” Rotich also noted that investment would be targeted at “transport, energy, and agriculture sectors.” Only 2 African nations, South Africa and Egypt, are members in the AIIB. Munda writes that Kenya might consider joining the African Development Bank prior to pursuing membership in the AIIB. Situated as an emerging global economy, Kenya is searching for investment opportunities with low loan rates, as it no longer enjoys “concessional terms” granted to lower income countries.
Developing Nations take Top Posts in AIIB
Magtulis stresses that the AIIB has awarded its top posts to representatives from developing countries. Viewed as a “move to make [the bank] more sensitive to Asia’s needs,” Magtulis reports that two of the vice presidents come from India and Indonesia, while the other three are from Britain, Germany, and South Korea. Furthermore, when comparing the World Bank and IMF, Magtulis notes that the AIIB has more Asian officials, which attests to the bank’s attempt to integrate Asian culture and identity into the bank. Magtulis also asserts that so far, the AIIB seems to have successfully balanced global imperatives, while meeting the needs of the Asian region.
Danny Alexander: I am right man for AIIB
Responding to criticisms that he is unqualified for the post of AIIB Vice President, Danny Alexander, reaffirms his appointment to the China-led bank. Reportedly taking mandarin classes and preparing for his move to Beijing, Alexander cites his accomplishments in the UK Treasury as evidence of his capabilities. Having helped “put the economy back on track” after Britain’s record-breaking deficit, Alexander reasserts that he is qualified and excited to join the new bank.
Georgia to Build New Silk Road Port
The Maritime Executive reports that a new deep-sea port will be established in Anaklia, off Georgia’s Black Sea coast. Georgia has committed roughly $100 million to the project, while it has an estimated cost of $2.5 billion. The port will take three years to be constructed. The project aims to increase connectivity between Asia and Europe. The consortium supporting the port’s construction will seek out funding from financial institutions. The Maritime Executive asserts that the AIIB will support projects throughout this region as a part of China’s Silk Road initiative.
Contrary to Claims from Washington, the AIIB is Transparent
Washington attempted to prevent global support for the AIIB, claiming that a Chinese Bank would not be capable of good governance practices. Despite those claims, the AIIB's articles of agreement commit to transparency, accountability and openness. The AIIB is more equip than the outdated financial institutions run largely by Washington to tackle the infrastructure challenges in the East. In response to accusations that the AIIB will rival the World Bank and IMF, the AIIB's president said that infrastructure development should be about cooperation rather than competition.
A Call for the Major Liberal Democracies to Coalesce and Reestablish World Order
US should partner with Japan and the UK to form a values-based approach to tackling the widespread unrest and conflicts across the globe. With the unraveling of order and peace in many parts of the world and the potential for Japan to secure a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, now is the time for these three liberal democracies to display a commitment to the stability of the international system. Although the UK supports China's AIIB and the UK Government has warned China that they will not tolerate expansionist behavior.
Representation for Developing Nations in AIIB
Many of the upper level executives in AIIB are from developing countries, unlike the leadership of the World Bank and the IMF. Allowing members of developing countries to represent their interests within the AIIB will prevent developed countries from attaching strings to the lines of credit, which is a common practice for the IMF and World Bank.
People’s Movements And CSOs Write To PM On AIIB
Civil organizations throughout India, such as the National Alliance of People’s Movements, sent a letter to the Prime Minister of India, demanding that operation of the China-led AIIB is transparent to the public. Signed by over 40 organizations, the letter demanded that the Indian parliament provide an “open debate” concerning AIIB’s role and implications on India. Furthermore, the organizations commanded that the bank hold consultations with civil society groups and individuals, prior to investing in large infrastructure projects. The letter also noted that ‘safeguards’ of the bank should match international best practices, and that such practices should be legally binding upon all AIIB members.
European expert: AIIB bridge between Western countries and emerging economies
Jim Stoopman, who is the Programme Coordinator at the European Institute for Asian Studies, has said that the AIIB provides new countries with a dialogue on global cooperation. Stoopman asserts that the bank will allow European countries to pursue augmented economic and political partnerships with Asia.
With Trans-Pacific Partnership advancing, India pins hopes on China-backed trade bloc
After being excluded from the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), India seeks involvement with a “trade bloc centered around China.” Opting for a China-led grouping, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), India’s negotiators aim to improve the country’s access to Asian markets. A New Delhi official recently confirmed that India hopes to cut trade tariffs later this year, and that membership in RCEP would help mitigate the country’s exclusion from TPP. The TPP could potentially impact India’s exports. Countries such as Vietnam, who belongs to both the TPP and RCEP, could effectively cut India out of many existing export-deals. Some analysts regard RCEP as “the last hope for some Indian companies to break into the global supply chain.” If created, RCEP would encompass a population of 3.4 billion, and a trade volume of $17 trillion. Export industries within India urge Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to stimulate trade talks on RCEP.
Is the AIIB a Pleasant Surprise after all?
In light of steps such as creating the Asian Infrastructure Bank and island building in the South China Sea, outside observers of China wonder if the state is seeking to undermine the global system through the AIIB. Despite China's rapid economic growth over the past three and half years, however, it has not tried to undermine the global system as many thought it would. China’s priority is economic development and domestic stability.
U.S. to host ASEAN conference next week.
The United States will be hosting a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Sunnlyand, California next week. Obama seeks to tighten US influence in this region and relations with new Chinese president Xi Jinping. Obama is also seeking ASEAN unity over China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, which are contested by countries like Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Indonesia Looks to AIIB for Economic Boost
To revive a stalling economy, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi) is confident if he can secure further Chinese backed loans such as from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he can reach his goal of a 7 percent growth rate during his presidency. Jokowi’s lofty infrastructure goals include more than 3,000 kilometers of railways lines, 24 ports and 2,000 kilometers of roads by 2019. Progress, however, during his first six months in office has been much slower than expected giving credence to Jokowi's critics who doubt his ability to revive Southeast Asia's biggest economy.