Ireland approved as member of China-led AIIB investment bank

State one of 13 new members to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Jin Liqun: The president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says he is “very proud that AIIB now has members from almost every continent”. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Jin Liqun: The president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says he is “very proud that AIIB now has members from almost every continent”. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

 

The Republic has been formally approved as one of 13 new members to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an institution set up last year by China to assist development in the region.

The board of governors approved the five regional and eight non-regional 13 prospective members, bringing the bank’s total approved membership to 70. This is the first time AIIB has welcomed new prospective members to the bank since its inception.

“The interest in joining AIIB from around the world affirms the rapid progress we have made to establish the bank as an international institution,” Jin Liqun, president of the AIIB, said in Beijing.

Founded in January 2015, AIIB is a multilateral financial institution founded to bring countries together to finance energy, transport and other infrastructure projects in Asia, and the bank started operations with 57 member countries and $100 billion (€93 billion) in capital.

“I am very proud that AIIB now has members from almost every continent, and we anticipate further applications being considered by our board of governors later this year,” he said.

Regional applicants

The five regional applicants include Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji, Timor Leste and Hong Kong, which becomes the bank’s first “sub-sovereign”member, while the non-regional members included Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Peru, the Republic of Sudan and Venezuela.

The 13 prospective members will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first instalment of capital with the bank.

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan welcomed AIIB’s board of governors’ decision.

“The AIIB will play an important role in fostering sustainable economic growth and prosperity in Asia and Ireland’s proposed membership will further strengthen our relationship with this important region,” he said in a statement.

The Department of Finance will now proceed with the domestic legislative steps necessary to complete the membership process.

The shares allocated to the new prospective members come from the bank’s existing pool of unallocated shares, according to AIIB.

Member countries

China is the largest member country with 28.69 per cent of voting power, followed by India (8.28 per cent), Russia (6.53 per cent), Germany (4.57 per cent), and South Korea (3.86 per cent).

The US and Japan are the only major countries yet to join the Beijing-headquartered bank, which is seen as an alternative source of financing to the Washington-based World Bank and the Japanese-led Asian Development Bank.

AIIB describes its mission as being “to improve economic and social development in Asia by investing in high quality, financially viable and environmentally friendly infrastructure projects.”