Last week the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) board of directors approved financing for three projects, including, for the first time, a project in China. Looking back at AIIB operations to date, these are my three takeaways.
One form of soft power is concrete enough. That is, it’s literally concrete. And by a measure of bricks and mortar, it’s clear that the United States is rapidly losing the soft power game to China. In fact, the contrast between the two countries on display this week in Washington is startling.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has enjoyed considerable success in its young life. The challenge going forward is to translate this resounding political success into operational effectiveness and sound strategy. Given the political dimensions of this new institution, it is also worth considering what it will mean for other MDBs like the World Bank and the ADB. There are large questions of political leadership in the multilateral “system” but also an array of issues on which the AIIB could help shape a new system-wide approach, whether defined by some division of labor among the MDBs or by introducing institutional innovations.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB) second loan to Tajikistan in the space of a year raises questions about lending on “hard terms” to poor countries. In its eagerness to meet the investment needs of Asian countries, is the AIIB going to get burned by lending at non-concessional rates to poor countries? Or, if a country becomes unable to pay all its bills, will it treat the AIIB as a preferred creditor and prioritize debt service payments over the needs of the poor?
We visited the AIIB a few weeks ago, and heard more about the emerging AIIB model: What is likely to be the same—as at the five big legacy banks (the World Bank and the four regional development banks) and what is likely to be different.
When the Chinese government launched a new multilateral development bank (MDB) with “infrastructure” in the name—the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)—it hardly seemed far-fetched to assume a strong Chinese preference for infrastructure-related MDB financing. Everything we know about China’s bilateral development financing suggests the same. Yet, a closer look at the AIIB’s charter suggests openness to a broader range of sectors and activities, pointing to potential for investments in “other productive sectors.”
In our previous post, we calculated voting power in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), using the formula published in the bank’s articles of agreement. Here we compare AIIB voting power to that of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB), the other two major multilateral development banks MDBs) active in Asia.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s new articles of agreement contain a great deal of information about shareholding and governance in the new institution. However, the articles require some additional analysis in order to answer key questions about voting power and board composition. Based on the information provided, we are able to generate voting shares as well as some preliminary conclusions about the composition of the AIIB’s board of directors.
The Chinese government has published the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) newly adopted articles of agreement. That’s an encouraging early sign of transparency, and more importantly, of timely transparency. Much of what’s in the articles was foreshadowed by previous comments and reporting, but there are surprises, such as stronger-than-expected veto powers for the Chinese and the possibility for non-sovereign membership.