Fiji Looks At Becoming Full Member Of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Joining AIIB could provide additional source of development financing 

By Matilda Simmons

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 28, 2016) – A government delegation led by Finance Ministry permanent secretary Makereta Konrote was dispatched to Beijing over the weekend to discuss the possibility of Fiji being given full membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

With the Fiji Government's investment in infrastructure making up 40 per cent of total expenditure in the 2016-2017 budget, the move to get membership is seen as an opportunity by Government for additional financing.

In a statement yesterday, it stated Fiji would be required to complete a formal legal process for accession to the bank and approval of membership would be decided by the bank's board of governors.

The AIIB is a new multilateral development bank similar to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank, to address the infrastructure-financing gap in the Asia region. In its first AGM over the weekend, the AIIB board approved its first four loans totalling $509 million to finance four projects in the Asia/Pacific region including a power grid upgrade project in Bangladesh which will be solely financed by AIIB.

The bank says it hopes to add new members including Fiji. The AIIB began operations in January this year with 57 founding members, and intends to invest $1.2 billion this year.

Formal applications for membership to the bank body will close in September 2016, and some 24 new countries are expected to join the AIIB by the next annual meeting, in South Korea, next year.

The Fiji delegation further met the co-chair of Green Climate Fund (GCF) board and deputy secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ewen McDonald, to discuss Fiji's GCF readiness programs and support for the Fiji Development Bank to become a local accredited entity. The accreditation will further allow GCF to channel funds through the Fiji Development Bank for local private sector projects.

Fiji Times Online.
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