INFRASTRUCTURE

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Germany tipped for a top spot in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

India, South Korea, Indonesia and Britain expected to secure key roles at the institution but France and Russia unlikely to be in the running

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 January, 2016, 11:58pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 February, 2016, 6:28pm

Germany is likely to have one top position in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank while a Briton will be the ­vice-president in charge of ­communications, sources told the South China Morning Post.

The fledging development bank opened for business last month and will have five ­vice-presidents working alongside its chief, China’s Jin Liqun. The other vice-presidents will be from Germany, India, South Korea and Indonesia, according to a list of proposed nominees.

Finance Minister Lou Jiwei was named chairman of the Board of Governors.

The balance in favour of emerging Asian countries is in contrast to other similar international institutions such as the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

READ MORE: China seeks bigger voice in global finance issues

The vice-president from ­Germany will be the bank’s chief operating officer, while the chief financial officer would be the vice-president from India, the bank’s second-biggest shareholder, sources said.

The position of chief administrative officer will be earmarked for Indonesia, which has the eighth-largest stake in the bank.

The South Korean vice-president would be in charge of risk ­affairs while the British vice-president would also oversee meeting arrangements. Britain was the first Western power to sign up for the China-led organisation and is tenth in contributions.

Jin, the bank’s inaugural president, would formally put the list of nominees to the board, a move expected to be endorsed by most of the member states, another source said.

At the bank’s opening ceremony two weeks ago, Chinese leaders pledged their full support for the AIIB and called on other international development lenders to help improve the region’s infrastructure and create jobs.

READ MORE: China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank just months away from first loan

The bank was first proposed by President Xi Jinping in October, 2013, when China was looking for new ways to spend the country’s growing foreign exchange reserves.

Of the 12 members of the board of directors, three will be from outside Asia, with Germany initially representing the euro zone and Britain the rest of ­Europe. Russia, the third-biggest stakeholder, and France, the ­seventh, are not expected to land top positions in the bank.

The Financial Times reported last week that Beijing was unhappy with Britain’s nomination of former Liberal Democrat minister Danny Alexander for vice-president, due to his lack of experience in the AIIB’s focus areas.

READ MORE: President Xi Jinping pledges during opening ceremony for AIIB that China will devote itself to operation of new development bank

The AIIB website says candidates for the vice-presidential roles should have at least 20 years of experience in international financial institutions or multinational development banks.

“Britain should have sent someone more powerful and more experienced to the AIIB. This would be in Britain’s interests and help cement its status in the bank,” said Wang Wen, director of Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. “The most important standard for China is that they have professional and financial expertise, because this will be critical to the AIIB’s successful operation in the first five years.”