AIIB approves 13 new members

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved 13 new members, which will expand the Beijing-based multilateral development bank's membership from 57 to 70.

The new members include five regional prospective members - Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji, Hong Kong and Timor Leste - along with Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Ireland, Peru, Sudan and Venezuela.

This is the first time that the AIIB has approved new applicants since its launch in January 2016.

The 13 prospective members will officially join the AIIB once they ratify the bank's articles of agreement domestically and make the first installment of their capital contribution.

The new members will pay USD 579.5m combined over five years, around 0.6% of the bank's capital base. The agreement also includes the option to increase the new members' shareholdings in the future (see table below).

The largest shareholders among the new batch of members will be Canada, Hong Kong and Belgium.

According to the AIIB's articles of agreement, the bank's 57 founding members were allocated 600 founding member votes each. The new members will not be entitled to these.

At the bank's first annual meeting in July last year, AIIB President Jin Liqun said 24 non-member countries had expressed interest in joining the bank and had attended as observers.

Other potential new members at that time included: Chile and Colombia in Latin America; Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Senegal in Africa and the Middle East; and Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and Romania in Europe.

"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 said in a statement today (23 March).

"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."

The AIIB has approved USD 1.73bn of loans to nine infrastructure projects in seven countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Oman.

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