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Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approves 13 new applicants


03-24-2017 08:20 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, has approved 13 new applications, bringing the bank's total approved membership to 70. At its launch in January 2015, there were 57 signatories to the AIIB's article of Agreement. The bank expects to welcome more prospective members through the year.

This is the first time the AIIB has welcomed new applications, including five regional and eight non-regional prospective members. Unsurprisingly, Hong Kong is in, as are Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji and Timor Leste. Canada is now the first north American country to get onboard. In Europe, Belgium, Hungary and Ireland have chosen to join as have Peru, Sudan, Venezuela and Ethiopia.

"Some of them could be joining because they want to be part of conversation thats happening in Asia, this is a growth region, exciting region.So some want to be part of the discussion. For other ones, they see trade opportunities, It's in our agreement..we could approve loans in countries outside the region if there's a immediate economic benefit to Asia. Some of those countries could be looking at it for those reason," AIIB spokesperson Laurel Ostfield said.

These 13 countries and regions will officially join the AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first instalment of capital with the bank. Their shares will come from the bank's existing pool of unallocated shares.

In 2016, in its first year of operation, the bank approved 1 point 73 billion dollars in loans to finance nine projects covering energy, transportation and urban development....many of which are along the belt and road.

"If there are projects part of the Belt and Road that makes sense....we will absolutely consider those for funding," Laurel said.

The AIIB is a new multilateral financial institution which was founded to bring countries together to address infrastructure needs across Asia.The capital of the bank is 100 billion US dollars, equivalent to  two-thirds of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank.

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