June 19, 2017 1:12 pm JST
Interview

AIIB will stay 'lean,' says vice president

China-led lender will continue cofinancing projects with the World Bank and ADB

SHIGERU SENO, Nikkei senior staff writer

JEJU, South Korea -- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank plans to stay lean and keep working with other multilateral lenders as it expands its operations, the bank's vice president said Saturday.

"We will continue to cofinance, and we will draw stand-alone business. I expect, over time, stand-alone projects will become larger than today, but I also expect continue to cofinance," Joachim von Amsberg told The Nikkei in an interview.

"It is really important, given the initial suspicion about the AIIB. Dispelling those suspicions is a key message to clients and shareholders. Secondly, cofinancing allows us to build the institution and learn," von Amsberg said.

The AIIB has approved 16 investment and loan projects, with most cofinanced by th e World Bank or the ADB. Von Amsberg's remarks underscore the AIIB's plans to continue operating in this manner for the time being.

The China-led AIIB was established in 2016. Its staff of around 100 remains small. Expanding the organization is a key issue for the bank. "Human resources are growing steadily, but not so excessively fast," von Amsberg said. The AIIB must develop its four pillars -- strategy, operations, financing and personnel -- in a way that is well balanced, he said.

"Our focus is infrastructure and project finance," he said. "We will stay a lean organization, compared with other development banks." Von Amsberg made clear that the AIIB will try to remain relatively small by cooperating with institutions such as the ADB, and by outsourcing some of its work to organizations such as think tanks.

As the first of its sector-specific projects, the AIIB drew up a plan for the energy industry. Von Amsberg said the AIIB will also come up with strategies for areas such as transport and sustainable cities. In transport, he said, the bank will focus on building a "big transport corridor cutting across countries."

Von Amsberg, a German, oversees the AIIB's policy and strategy. He holds a doctorate and an MBA from the University of British Columbia. Before becoming one of the AIIB's five vice presidents in 2016, he was vice president at the World Bank.

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