The world is changing, and so is it in the banking industry. The Obama administration are concerned about the new superpower in the banking sector. It`s called AIIB, and the Obama administration has tried to stop other contries from investing in the new bank.
The reason why they have tried to stop AIIB, is because they are afraid that AIIB would undermine the power of the U.S dominated World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the emerging markets. So, what is AIIB, and should you be worried?
AIIB stand for The Asian infrastructure Investment Bank. It is an international financial institution proposed by the government of China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia region.
(Picture: Prospective Founding Members (PFMs) of AIIB (2015-04-15 UTC+8 12:00:00)
The Bank`s foundation is built on the lessons of experience of existing MDB`s and the private sector. It`s modus operandi will be lean, clean and green; lean, with a small efficient management team and highly skilled staff.
Clean; an ethical organisation with zero tolerance for corruption; and green; an institution built on respect for the environment. The AIIB will put in place strong policies on governance, accountability, financial, procurement and environmental and social frameworks.
The AIIB, a modern knowledge-based institution, will focus on the development of infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia, including energy and power, transportation and telecommunications, rural infrastructure and agriculture development, water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development and logistics, etc. The operational strategy and priority areas of engagement may be revised or further refined by its governing boards in the future as circumstances may warrant.
AII B is regarded by some as a rival for the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which are regarded as dominated by developed countries like the United States. The United Nations has addressed the launch of AIIB as «scaling up financing for sustainable development» for the concern of Global Economic Governance.
The United States officials have expressed concerns about whether the AIIB would have high standards of governance, and whether it would have environmental and social safeguards. The United States is reported to have used diplomatic pressure to try and prevent key allies, such as Australia, from joining the bank, and expressed disappointment when others, such as Britain joined.
As of April 15, 2015, almost all Asian countries and most major countries outside Asia had joined the AIIB, except the US, Japan (which dominated the ADB) and Canada. North Korea`s and Taiwan`s applications for Prospective Founding Member (PFM) were rejected.
The bank was launched at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2014. The Articles of Agreement (AOA) would be finalized and open for signature by PFM`s from June 2015. The AOA is expected to enter into force and AIIB to be fully established by the end of 2015. As of April 15, 2015 there are 57 PFM`s.
The World Bank and IMF which is dominated by Washington-based bureaucrats have had an ideological monopoly in the lending market since 1945. It all started in 1944, with the Bretton Woods Agreement.
Bretton Woods set up the World Bank and IMF duo, and provided subsidized competition to the merchant banks. This resulted in a situation were the merchant banks was driven out of the development lending business.
Lending to developing countries was carried out by the private sector before the World War II, notably by the London merchant banks. All this resulted in an attractive diversity of development banking approaches.
The problem for the recipients was that the people often got bad advice because there was only one source of long-term development capital. In the last decade, the landscape has been dotted with renewable energy projects.
Infrastructure is popular among development bankers, but it is very expensive. Huge amounts of money have been wasted over the past 70 years in attempting to develop poor countries on the basis of non-market fashionable theories from the rich West.
Africa became much poorer rather than richer from 1960 to 2000. The rest of the world became much richer, and IMF and World Bank cannot be blamed for that. The money funneled through them was both wasted and left recipient countries with often unbearable burdens of foreign debt.
The bombs the West have dropped in many Asian countries didn`t help either, and many of those countries will participate in the new bank AIIB. Some of them is Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to name a few. Poor countries need money. Not bombs.
AIIB will provide financial and ideological competition to the Washington institutions.
This new model with Asian countries having a choice of funding sources (without Washington) will be beneficial, and the decisions will probably be free of the current Western «political correctness» doctrines.
It will be expensive and the new project will probably face huge losses to the institution concerned, but with India and Britain among its shareholders the new project will surely be one of its most benign manifestations. The multilateral development bank approach to developing poor countries has been proved over 70 years without any big success. Will AIIB change that?
It`s better with money and growth than bombs. The world can`t be held together by bombs and alliances.
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