The United Arab Emirates has become a prospective founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, an initiative proposed by Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and established at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, held in Indonesia, in October 2013.
AIIB will prioritise funding for infrastructure projects in Asia, whilst creating a new platform for regional and international cooperation to support developing Asian countries. The bank will focus energy and power, transportation, telecommunications, rural infrastructure, agriculture development, water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development, logistics and other productive sectors.
The UAE joins 34 other prospective founding members of the bank. They include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan from the Middle East. Asian members include China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore. Russia, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Luxemburg are also members. Nominations for countries to join as founding members of AIIB closed on March 31st.
Following the UAE leadership's directives, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, led discussions on behalf of the UAE with his Chinese counterpart, Shi Yaobin, Vice Minister for the Ministry of Finance, and was instrumental in arranging the UAE's membership of the AIIB.
Dr. Al Jaber said, "This milestone has been possible due to the wise directives and unlimited support of the UAE's leadership. In the light of joint strategic ties between the UAE and China, and their mutual interests in fuelling growth and infrastructure development in developing countries, both countries have partnered to set up a strong international platform to actively drive development efforts.
"With the AIIB's objectives being closely associated with the capabilities of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the UAE's Leadership has mandated the fund to represent the UAE on AIIB's Board of Governors.
"Being a founding member of AIIB will boost the prime economic role played by the UAE regionally and internationally, by focusing efforts on development projects with great socio-economic benefits. With its unrivalled experience in implementing development and support projects, the UAE will add huge value to AIIB," Dr. Al Jaber added.
He explained, "Asia has significant infrastructure needs. AIIB will play a pivotal role in driving Asia's development, which is all the more urgent given the region's rapidly growing economies and population."
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development was established to help developing countries to achieve growth and development through assistance in the form of concessionary loans, development grants and equity participation.
The aim of the institution is to finance development projects in order to support efforts to achieve economic and social development in developing countries. It also makes investments in order to encourage the private sector in the recipient countries to play an essential role in accelerating the economic development process.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, said, "The UAE's membership of AIIB, with a permanent place on the Governors' Council, translates into action the UAE leadership's vision and aspirations to strengthen coordination and cooperation among international countries, with the aim of providing funding and support to development projects in Asia, while at the same time boosting regional economic cooperation."