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World Bank, AIIB pledge to deepen cooperation

Chen Weihua
Updated: Apr 25,2017 8:07 AM     China Daily

The World Bank Group and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank signed an agreement on April 23 to strengthen cooperation and knowledge sharing between the two multilateral financial institutions.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and AIIB President Jin Liqun signed the memorandum of understanding during the 2017 IMF/World Bank annual spring meeting in Washington.

The deal provides an overall framework for cooperation between the World Bank and the AIIB in a wide range of areas, including development financing, staff exchanges and analytical and sector work. It paves the way for the two institutions to further enhance coordination at the regional and country levels, according to a World Bank news release.

“The World Bank Group has worked closely with our partners at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank since its inception,” Kim said.

“We’re already financing projects together from Azerbaijan to Indonesia, and I’m delighted to further strengthen our partnership. Collaboration between development institutions is essential to make the best use of scarce resources, bring in the private sector, and meet the rising aspirations of the people we serve,” Kim added.

The two institutions signed a cofinancing framework agreement for investment projects a year ago. Since then, the AIIB and the World Bank have cofinanced five projects: supporting power generation in Pakistan, a natural gas pipeline in Azerbaijan, and slum upgrading, dam safety and regional infrastructure development in Indonesia. The two institutions are discussing more projects to be cofinanced in 2017 and 2018.

The AIIB and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, have co-invested in a power sector project in Myanmar and are discussing additional potential projects.

“Signing this memorandum of understanding fits into our vision of a new kind of internationalism,” Jin said.

“It deepens our relationship with the World Bank Group and sets up the mechanisms through which we can more easily collaborate and share information. We place a high value on our partnerships because by working together, we greatly increase our potential for positive outcomes in Asia,” Jin said.

Unlike the less than supportive attitude expressed by former US President Barack Obama’s administration, World Bank President Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde have expressed their support for the AIIB since the very beginning.

The Beijing-based AIIB opened for business in January 2016 with the aim of supporting infrastructure construction in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to statistics published at the end of March, it had 52 members and another 18 prospective members.

James Woolsey Jr, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, indicated earlier that the Trump administration might be interested in joining the AIIB, but no senior Trump administration official has given any clear signal on the issue so far.

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