The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) could lend out U.S. $2 billion in its first year of operation, AIIB president-designate Jin Liqun said during an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun here.
Jin, China’s former vice finance minister, was appointed head of the nascent AIIB in August this year. The bank, which the United States and Japan have not joined, is scheduled to be established by the end of this year and start making loans in April 2016. During the interview, Jin stressed that the AIIB will cooperate with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and that the new institution “can handle all of the challenges, even if the U.S. and Japan do not join.”
The $2 billion in loans forecast by Jin for the AIIB’s first year would be just one-tenth of the amount lent out by the ADB annually. But the enormous demand for infrastructure in Asia will quickly expand AIIB investments and, Jin indicated, the AIIB will be able to respond to very large capital requirements in cooperation with the ADB and other international financial institutions. Jin also said, however, that the bank would carefully scrutinize all enterprises seeking AIIB funds, and that making “quality” loans would be the bank’s first priority.
“Quality is more important than quantity,” he said.
Jin furthermore foresees more than 70 countries eventually joining the AIIB, as “we have the policy that AIIB, as a multilateral development institution, should be inclusive. Membership should be open to all of the countries in this world.” He also reiterated that the AIIB would do just fine without Japan and the U.S., stating, “We have almost all the major developed countries and emerging market economies. We’re getting financially, economically more powerful. I think we can do a good job, given the existing shareholders.”