ECONOMY


Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank launches first international fund in Beijing

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Beijing, January 16, AZERTAC

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the first fully fledged international organization led by China, held its formal inauguration on Saturday at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing with 57 member nations including Azerbaijan in attendance.

China's President Xi Jinping presided, and told the gathering that his country promises to "shoulder further international responsibility."

The AIIB was first proposed by Xi in October 2013, and has not been joined by the U.S. or Japan. Major European economies like France, Germany and the U.K. have, however, signed on.

Azerbaijani Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov signed the document on behalf of the Azerbaijani Government.

The new bank has $100 billion in seed capital and is headquartered in Beijing. It legally came into existence on Dec.25. Going forward, China will contribute the most funding and hold 26% of the voting rights, giving it a de facto veto power.

India and Russia are AIIB's second and third largest funders, and will ensure that emerging economies play a pivotal role in developing highways, power grids, water systems and other Asia-Pacific infrastructure.

Jin Liqun, the bank's first president, said at the opening ceremony that the AIIB is intended to materially improve the economies and societies in the region. The first meeting of its board and executive council is scheduled for Monday.

Although details are still being worked out, AIIB expects to extend its first loan in the second or third quarter of the year and to lend some $2 billion over the first year. It also plans to enlist the cooperation of the World Bank based in Washington and the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

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