The sign of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is pictured at its headquarters in Beijing, July 27, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
President Xi Jinping has on many occasions stressed that peace and development remain the call of our times, and in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Annual Meeting (virtual) of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on Tuesday, he once again urged higher-quality cooperation to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.
Noting that since its launch in January 2016, the AIIB has held true to its purpose of developing infrastructure and connectivity in Asia and deepening regional cooperation for shared development, he said that with more good friends and partners getting on board, it can become a new paradigm of multilateral cooperation.
With 102 members spanning the six continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America and Oceania, the AIIB has gone from strength to strength and provided nearly $20 billion in infrastructure investment to its members.
From road building in the countryside in Pakistan to power system upgrading in the rural areas in Bangladesh, the AIIB has supported projects that are an important physical foundation for infrastructure connectivity and that serve to promote common development.
To date, the bank has approved investments in 87 infrastructure and other development-related projects in 24 economies and large amounts of loans have been extended through the bank’s promptly established COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility, which aims to support members in their efforts to contain the novel coronavirus and revive their economies.
When President Xi first proposed the AIIB on China’s behalf in late 2013, there were suspicions that it was aimed at challenging the existing Western-led international funding institutions. Yet the short but eventful history of the AIIB has shown that there is much potential to be tapped if these institutions join hands with the AIIB to address common challenges.
They are not rivals; instead, they can share with each other their unique experiences and innovative methods so that they can better serve the diversified needs of different countries and regions by providing more high-quality, low-cost and sustainable investment for both traditional and new types of infrastructure. By working together they can give renewed impetus to economic and social development in Asia and beyond.
In his speech on Tuesday, Xi once again stressed that China pursues development with the rest of the world in the spirit of openness and mutually beneficial cooperation.
To this end, China will continue working with other members to support the AIIB and contribute more to the global response to risks and challenges, and the pursuit of shared development.