China-led investment bank approves €290m in projects

Multinational lender approves its first equity investment in Indian infrastructure

Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), looks on. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), looks on. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

 

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multinational lender set up last year by China to assist development in the region, has approved €290 million in projects, including its first equity investment of $150 million (€134 million) to boost infrastructure in India.

Ireland’s application for membership of the AIIB was formally approved in March and last month the Department of Finance published a Bill for Ireland’s membership of the institution.

The board of the AIIB also approved two loans to support infrastructure projects in Georgia and Tajikistan for a total of $324 million (€290 million).

“Approving our first equity investment is another milestone for the Bank and will enhance our potential to source and fund high quality, private sector projects,” said DJ Pandian, vice president and chief investment officer of the AIIB.

“These three projects demonstrate a growing sophistication in our ability to support our member countries across different regions and sectors,” Mr Pandian said in a statement.

The AIIB is due to host its second annual meeting in the South Korean resort island of Jeju over the weekend, and around 2,500 participants from 77 member countries will attend.

The Chinese-led organisation is trying to expand its role and leadership beyond China, and there is speculation that President Xi Jinping will attend, despite current tensions between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea.

Among the finance ministers due to attend are China’s Xiao Jie, India’s Arun Jaitley and Sri Mulyani Indrawati of Indonesia.

The event will be chaired by South Korea’s newly installed finance minister Kim Dong-yeon and the board of governors will be led by AIIB President Jin Liqun.

The AIIB allows Beijing to compete with the Japan-led Asian Development Bank and the Washington-based World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The India Infrastructure Fund aims to invest in mid-cap infrastructure companies in India, and to expand the AIIB’s equity and loan deal sourcing pipelines in the private sector through its equity participation.

The bank will lend $114 million (€102 million) for the Georgia Batumi road bypass project, its first loan to Georgia, co-financed with the Asian Development Bank.

There will also be a $60 million (€54 million) loan for the first phase of the Nurek hydropower rehabilitation project in Tajikistan, co-financed with the World Bank.