China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved the membership of 13 more countries, including US’ close-ally Canada, seen as a coup for the Communist giant after Washington discouraged major Western powers from signing up. The AIIB has approved the applications of Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji, China’s Hong Kong and Timor Leste from the region and eight non-regional prospective members including Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Ireland, Peru, Sudan and Venezuela. “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 Liqun, president of AIIB told the media here.
“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,” he said. The AIIB has several major European countries among its shareholders that joined despite Washington’s objections. The AIIB was officially established late last year with 57 founding members. With authorised capital of USD 100 billion, China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 per cent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia 5.93 per cent and Germany with 4.5 per cent.
The 13 prospective members will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank. The shares allocated to the new prospective members come from the bank’s existing pool of unallocated shares, according to the bank.
With 57 founding members, the AIIB which was established in 2015 aims to provide financing to address the daunting infrastructure needs across Asia. The 13 new additions will take the total number of members of AIIB to 70.