The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a financial institution proposed by China, will be lean, clean, and green, according to its interim chief who downplayed any concerns regarding transparency and the institution’s standard of governance.
The $50 billion bank is expected to start operations by the end of the year, and has garnered the interest of several countries including Britain, New Zealand, and India. It is often is seen as a potential rival to established lenders, namely the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, dominated by the United States and Japan.
“Lean is cost effective; clean, this bank will have zero- tolerance on corruption; green means it’s going to promote the economy”, Jin Liqun, secretary general of the bank’s multilateral interim secretariat, told the press in Singapore on Saturday.
He further added that the bank will not run on political interests, reiterating that the “AIIB is a bank, not a political organization or political alliance. This guaranteed that it would be impossible to operate it in an untransparent way”.
So far, more than 40 countries have applied to join the AIIB, with the United States and Japan expressing no commitment to joining. North Korea, a country allied to China, had its application rejected due to the lack of detailed information about its market and financial conditions.
Washington has questioned the proposed bank’s ability to sustain sufficient standards of governance, as well as environmental and social safeguards. Worried about China’s increasing diplomatic clout, the United States suffered a diplomatic reverse after attempting to dissuade its allies from joining the Chinese initiative.
Australia and South Korea are among the countries that joined the bank, both of which are strongly allied to the United States.