Increased regional cooperation and connectivity are vital to enhancing business certainty and rebooting the global economy, according to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President and Chair of the Board Jin Liqun. “At a time when the world is becoming more divided, it is imperative for us to promote multilateral cooperation and contribute to global governance through joint efforts with the international community,” President Jin shared with media during AIIB’s seventh Annual Meeting in Beijing, China.
AIIB’s 2022 Annual Meeting theme—Sustainable Infrastructure Toward a Connected World—focuses on connectivity and regional cooperation, both of which are among AIIB’s core thematic priorities.
President Jin told journalists that AIIB’s mission is more important than ever at a time when climate change, COVID-19, conflicts and economic challenges are among the concurrent crises of global concern.
“These crises are all in the news,” he said. “But behind the headlines, these are serious problems inflicting hardship and harm on the world’s most vulnerable populations.”
While developing Asia is estimated to grow at 5.2 percent in 2023, debt sustainability is at risk in several AIIB members more than before, with shrinking fiscal space, global monetary tightening and capital outflows from emerging and developing economies. Managing debt levels and fiscal pressures will remain challenging for many economies, adversely affecting public infrastructure spending.
In response to a complex set of challenges, President Jin outlined a series of measures taken by AIIB to assist its less developed members. He noted the recent approval of a new, blended financing facility—the Special Fund Window—to make financing more affordable for poorer countries. The facility provides interest rate buy down to eligible sovereign-backed financing projects aligned with AIIB’s Corporate Strategy.
He further noted that amid tightening fiscal constraints, achieving climate-related commitments will require sustained and increased financing.
“Despite the availability of capital to tackle climate change, there is still so much more we need to do,” he said. “Green bonds represent less than 1 percent of the total capital traded on the global markets. The only way to increase the levels of available climate financing is by adopting a multilateral approach that creates demand, ensures supply and ultimately leads to the innovation we need to stave off the threat of the changing climate.”
In 2021, AIIB’s climate finance amounted to USD2.9 billion or 48 percent of total approved financing, up from 41 percent in the previous year. AIIB has committed to making climate finance 50 percent of its approved projects by 2025.
To further improve AIIB’s response to the needs of its diverse membership, the Bank is preparing to open an Interim Operational Hub in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. With a portfolio of 191 projects in 33 countries and USD36.44 billion in project financing, this rapid growth is the catalyst for AIIB’s expanding global footprint, bringing the Bank closer to clients and the front lines of its business. The Hub in Abu Dhabi provides proximity to global financial centers and connectivity with the international infrastructure ecosystem, which is vital to maintaining AIIB’s commercial momentum.
“Seven years into operations, AIIB is stronger, wiser and tougher,” said President Jin. “We have endured and grown through challenging times. We are fit and flexible enough to meet unforeseen challenges that may come our way. However, we do not pretend to have all the answers. We remain open to discovering new and innovative ways to increase connectivity, strengthen economies and improve sustainability.”
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank whose mission is financing the Infrastructure for Tomorrow—infrastructure with sustainability at its core. We began operations in Beijing in January 2016 and have since grown to 105 approved members worldwide. We are capitalized at USD100 billion and Triple-A-rated by the major international credit rating agencies. Collaborating with partners, AIIB meets clients’ needs by unlocking new capital and investing in infrastructure that is green, technology-enabled and promotes regional connectivity.