BEIJING – The recent historic launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been highly anticipated – and rightly so. With the start of operations, the AIIB joined the family of multilateral financial institutions in supporting broad-based economic and social development in Asia. Sound and sustainable infrastructure investment will lead to better development outcomes, improve the lives and livelihoods of Asia’s citizens, and generate positive spillover effects in other parts of the world.
Over the past year, meeting with people from around the world and various walks of life, I have frequently been asked to explain why another multilateral development bank is needed, and how the AIIB will be different from, say, the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.
The answers are clear. The role and importance of Asia in the international arena have increased, yet the region faces severe infrastructure gaps and thorny bottlenecks. Asia’s infrastructure investment needs have grown exponentially, and the AIIB’s resources, quite simply, will increase the pool of multilateral resources available to help meet them.
There is, moreover, ample space for the AIIB to help its members to modernize roads, rails, and ports; enhance access to electricity; expand telecommunications services; advance urban planning; and provide clean water and sanitation services. We will do it well. We will do it right. And we will do it collaboratively, as a reliable and complementary development partner.