New milestone for a young bank . . .
In a move that shows just how quickly international institutions are reshaped by the Asia Pacific’s rapid growth, the four year-old Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) expanded its membership to 100 at its annual meeting in Luxembourg, the first time the gathering was held outside Asia. The bank now includes members from all continents, except Antarctica.
And set to grow further . . .
By 2020 the AIIB is set to enter its fifth year of operations with C$10 billion in investments in 45 projects. Next year’s AIIB annual meeting will officially mark the transition from its start-up phase to one focused on growth and expansion. Its current projects trend towards ones connecting Europe and Asia, especially through infrastructure, transport and energy linkages. The bank is planning to make C$5 billion worth of investments in infrastructure projects this year, an increase of C$1 billion from 2018.
Canada, controversy, and the AIIB . . .
Despite the AIIB’s rapid growth it continues to confront controversy, in part because China’s other development loan projects have faced problems with initial strict conditions imposed by Beijing that have frequently required concessions. The ongoing spat between Canada and China has also brought Canada’s presence in the institution into domestic political debates, including calls to cut funding to, or even withdraw from, the AIIB. However, participation in international financial governance is an important vector of influence for Canada, as decisions made at the AIIB and other multilateral financial institutions reshape how and why countries trade, and ultimately the global balance of power.