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Infrastructure for Tomorrow: Interview with AIIB vice president on response to future challenges

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In the five years since it was founded, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved more than 20 billion dollars of financing for over 100 projects. Last year, the bank set up a COVID-19 crisis recovery facility, offering loans of up to 13 billion U.S. dollars. Our reporter Feng Yilei talked with its vice president, Sir Danny Alexander, to find out more about the bank’s strategies and response to the global crisis.

SIR DANNY ALEXANDER AIIB Vice President and Corporate Secretary “And obviously, this year, for many of our members, the focus is shifting to vaccine and mass vaccination campaigns. And that’s particular Challenge, particularly in developing countries.”

FENG YILEI CGTN Reporter “Some say, compared to your counterparts, including the World Bank and ADB you’re not doing enough in terms of such medical aid. So what exact role can we expect the AIIB to play?”

SIR DANNY ALEXANDER Vice President and Corporate Secretary “We will operate in a way very much in coordination with our multilateral peers, like the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, in coordination with the global vaccination organizations. But more broadly, we see there’s a need for a continuing major focus beyond the pandemic on upgrading health and social infrastructure. If populations aren’t healthy, economies cannot function. That’s one of the most obvious lessons of the period of the last year or so.”

FENG YILEI CGTN Reporter “So in that case, how will you reallocate and rebalance your resources and efforts to make sure the new strategy will both pay off in short term and long run?”

SIR DANNY ALEXANDER AIIB Vice President and Corporate Secretary “I think as countries shift from the immediate pandemic response to thinking about both the immediate and long term economic recovery, which you’re right to say that they need to have, then infrastructure will be a key focus in many of those places.

“And in a sense, the contribution that multilateral development banks can make through our investments is to demonstrate through the projects we invest in, that there is both a short term and a long term benefit to the kind of infrastructure for tomorrow that we know our members will need. So we’ve invested, for example, in solar power in Egypt and Kazakhstan and other places. We’ve invested in a number of members to support telecommunications infrastructure in Oman and Cambodia. And these investments help to ensure that countries have the systems that they need to respond effectively to crisis, to communicate with people, to enable businesses to function.

“I think what you see increasingly is that the application of technology to traditional infrastructure also helps to get much better value, much better use out of that infrastructure.”

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FENG YILEI CGTN Reporter “As you’re going to leverage more international capital, you’re going to attract more private investors and commercial banks which we think, are not on the common ground with MDBs. So in that case, how will you ensure that they can get a considerable return from the cooperation with MDBs?”

SIR DANNY ALEXANDER AIIB Vice President and Corporate Secretary “We have to find ways to attract private capital into our projects, also to apply our capital in a way that can support private sector development and multilateral bring a number of features that help to crowd in more private sector money to projects. You can see from a range of AIIB projects, the way in which we’ve already taken steps in projects which help to bring private capital in through equity investments and green funds, for example, will help to mobilize much more private capital into clean energy, for example, in the coming years.”


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