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Multilateral development banks pledge cooperation along Belt and Road

The Ministry of Finance held a seminar on May 18 at the International Economic and Finance Institute in Beijing, to talk about deepening bilateral institutions’ functions in the Belt and Road construction.

Multilateral development agencies, including the New Development Bank (NDB), the World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, all attended the seminar, voicing support for infrastructure building. The banks also signed MOUs with the Chinese Finance Ministry during the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) earlier this week.

During the seminar, which focused on forging “closer partnership for interconnected development,” banks gave their feedback to enhance connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative, just two days after heads of state reached an agreement to materialize the blueprint.

Delegates from major development agencies also pledged more cooperation and innovative ways of cofinancing projects, mentioning that global countries have embraced the wave of infrastructure building, as both developed and developing nations have issued their own plans.

Experts say global countries have entered a period of infrastructure building, supported by the World Bank’s estimate that the world will need $49 trillion from 2016 to 2030. So closer cooperation with private investment is more urgent than before.

The NDB, one of attendees, inked a deal with the Chinese Finance Ministry during the BRF. And its vice president, Zhu Xian, suggested several ways to make projects more “bankable” to private investors. ‍

“For some small reasons, private sectors still feel, either for regulatory constraints or for some sort of tariff and other concerns, they don’t want to invest, they don’t see that as fully bankable. So you need to have a dialogue with the government, either they can change the regulatory environment, or policies, or they can provide some incentives, and these projects probably can go ahead, and be fully bankable,” Zhu said.

Vice-Finance Minister Shi Yaobin also indicated that while the market should play a decisive role in furthering the Belt and Road Initiative, governments should provide legal and policy supports.