By Stelios Orphanides
The board of directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved Cyprus’s admission as a full member, the bank and the Finance Ministry said on Friday.
Cyprus’s admission by the Beijing-based lender is of “political and financial significance,” Finance Minister Harris Georgriades said in a statement emailed by the ministry. “Cyprus is interested in strengthening its ties with Asian economies. Our participation in AIIB expands the scope of economic diplomacy and the prospect of accessing investment capital”.
The AIIB, which finances projects in Asia and other continents to help realise the “one belt, one road” initiative of China’s president Xi Jinping, said that its board decided to admit Cyprus together with Bahrain, Samoa, Bolivia, Chile, Greece, and Romania on May 13.
“More and more countries are signing up to be members of AIIB because they see how internationalism can promote development in Asia, with far reaching benefits for the global economy,” Jin Liqun, AIIB chairman said in a statement on the lender’s website. “We welcome our new prospective members and thank them for joining us in our efforts to meet the infrastructure needs in the region.”
The bank said the prospective members will officially join it after completing “domestic process and deposit the first instalment of capital” with AIIB. “The shares allocated to the new prospective members come from the bank’s existing pool of unallocated shares,” it added.
The lender, launched in January last year, initially had 57 signatories. Two months ago it approved another 13 prospective members and expects to continue attracting additional members this year. Other members of the bank next to China, which has the largest shareholding, are India, Australia, Turkey, Russia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
The AIIB, with a share capital of $100bn, expectes to finance investment in infrastructure, including energy, water management and environmental projects, to participate in the capital structure of companies and to provide guarantees, the finance ministry said.