Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank increases intervention in Africa and South America

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which includes Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Portugal among its members, intends to strengthen its intervention in Africa and South America, said the chairman of the financial institution based in China.

In an interview with Hong Kong newspaper, the South China Morning Post on the bank’s second anniversary, Jin Liqun said that disbursements have already reached US$4 billion, broken down into 24 funded projects and that expansion of the regional scope of the bank is under discussion.

“We must give attention to supporting African member countries. Asia is developing rapidly, but it cannot sustain itself well without working closely with African countries,” said the chairman of the bank.

Jin Liqun said there were several South American countries that joined (the bank), “thinking that it will be very good to finance some medium-income projects in South America, joining South America and Asia, reducing the costs of transport and transactions between the two continents.”

The bank’s intervention focused on Asia in the first two years of operation, with the exception of some investments in Egypt and Oman.

In the interview, Jin Liqun also said that it will be inevitable that some of the projects involving the Asian bank coincide with the “Belt and Road” strategy due to the scale of the initiative, which covers more than 60 nations.

Portugal is among the countries that have been making efforts to attract projects linked to the Chinese strategy, in particular to the port of Sines, in the south of the country.

China is the largest shareholder of the bank, with more than 26% of the capital, but other major shareholders include Russia, with about 6.0%, with regional members holding almost 76% of the total capital.

Timor-Leste joined the group of regional members at the end of November last year, with a share of 0.21%.

Among the non-regional members is Portugal, with a share of 0.31%, as well as some of the largest countries in the European Union, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.

The bank’s mission is to invest in projects linked to the development of Asia, which also includes investments outside the continent to promote Asian economic growth.

Among these projects are ports and railways in Africa and Latin America that improve infrastructure involved in trade with Asia.

With starting capital of US$100 billion, the AIIB currently has 80 member countries and dozens of “prospective” members, among them Brazil. (macauhub)