Your Excellency, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt,
Your Excellency Dr. Mohamed Maait, Chair of the AIIB Board of Governors and Minister of Finance of Egypt,
Distinguished Governors, Honored Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my great honor and privilege to welcome you all to the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
On behalf of us all at AIIB, I extend our deepest appreciation to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Egyptian people for such gracious hospitality and superb support during this Annual Meeting – located at the nexus of Asia and Africa.
As one of the greatest civilizations of human history, Egyptian infrastructure has long occupied a special place in the world’s imagination. From the truly timeless marvel of the Pyramids of Giza to the Suez Canal through which 12% of global trade flows, Egypt has long been a home for grand visions and dreams of a new tomorrow.
Indeed, the New Suez Canal project, implemented in record time thanks to the keen attention of President El Sisi, exemplifies the transformative impact of well-planned and executed infrastructure projects. The development impact of this and other Egyptian infrastructure investments like the New Administrative Capital is all too palpable.
Distinguished Governors, our post-pandemic world faces a litany of economic challenges. Growth projections are being downgraded, inflation and interest rates are at decades-high levels. And in the wake of COVID-19, public budgets are more strained than ever.
Yet, the world continues to grow. The infrastructure financing gap continues to yawn ever larger. There is an ever growing need to support Members as they grapple with ever more frequent natural disasters, such as the recent tragedies in Morocco and Libya. And most importantly, the clear and present danger of climate change menaces us all.
Expectations of MDBs have never been greater – we must do more, and dramatically so. If multilateralism is the melody of global cooperation, then this Annual Meeting is but one chorus in the never-ending refrain toward a more prosperous tomorrow.
Some forty-five years ago, Egypt’s visionary President, Anwar Sadat, wrote in his memoir: “There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, not as many separate ones.” This is the essence of the multilateral ethos that shaped AIIB’s formation in 2016.
I am proud to say that today, eight years into operation, AIIB has been recognized as an integral component of the global financial architecture. AIIB remains in the gene pool of MDBs, with the special features of a multilateral development bank fit for the 21st century. AIIB is working closely with our sister institutions to strengthen the family bonds that bind all MDBs together. We are actively contributing to MDB reform, including by implementing the G20 CAF Review recommendations, while also establishing new initiatives with esteemed partners at breakneak pace.
Our Bank’s recent joint announcement with the World Bank of a USD 1 billion guarantee over a selection of their sovereign portfolio is one such example of our quick and collaborative effort to strengthen the performance of the MDB system. We are also proud of our cofinancing record as the largest cofinancing partner of both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, along with our close cofinancing partnerships with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. Such cooperation exemplifies AIIB’s DNA-coded commitment to partnership in addressing development challenges.
Over the last year, we announced agreements with many esteemed partners, including AFD, KfW, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Pandemic Fund, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing Platform and with the COP28 Presidency.
In addition to our multilateral and development partners, AIIB’s capital market partners have been crucial to scaling up our efforts to support our clients.
Three weeks ago, AIIB achieved early completion of our 2023 funding program with the successful issuance of a USD 2 billion 3-year Global bond. With USD 4.8 billion in orders, this bond recorded the largest orderbook for any bond issued by AIIB since its inception. It testifies to the broad confidence of investors in this Bank and in our commitment to financing Infrastructure for Tomorrow. Furthermore, in May this year, AIIB issued Asia’s first-ever Climate Adaptation Bond, marking a significant milestone in adaptation financing.
Today, I am delighted to announce the launch of our Climate Action Plan. The plan outlines our ambition to bring capital, capacity and convening power to help our members in their efforts to address climate change. We will elaborate further on our Climate Action Plan in our Climate Flagship Seminar later today.
This Plan builds on what is already a significant area of focus for our Bank. On July 1, we fulfilled our promise to align all new financing with the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, we have already attained the goal of annual climate financing accounting for 50% or above of the total approvals by 2025, with climate financing accounting for 56% in 2022.
President El-Sisi, in this same beautiful city of peace almost one year ago, you spoke of a sobering mission as you opened COP27 to the world. Your prescient words hold true today: that future “generations must not bear the consequences of mistakes that they did not make”, that “now is the time for action and implementation”, that trust lies at the heart of our ability to act as one.
If our global village is to withstand the storms brewing on our horizon, it will be due in no small part to the actions of everyone here today. AIIB is acting. We are acting in concert with our MDB peers and other trusted development partners, united by our shared pursuit for a better tomorrow.
I wish you all a successful assembly over the next few days and invite you to explore new opportunities for partnership as we work together to invest in the green Infrastructure for Tomorrow.
Thank you very much.