The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved its first four loans worth US$509 million as the bank holds its first annual meeting.
Three of the four loans were co-financed with other multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The loans will be funded for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, Indonesia, Tajikistan and Bangladesh, the bank said in a statement.
The AIIB "looks to take its place as one of the leading multilateral financial institutions for cutting edge infrastructure investments and as a pacesetter for public-private partnerships," the Beijing-based bank's President Jin Liqun told the meeting on Saturday.
Jin said 24 more countries are applying to join the AIIB and the bank "looks forward to receiving applications from those who are interested before the deadline of Sept. 30, 2016. We look forward to new members joining the Bank from early 2017."
With paid-in capital of $100 billion and 57 members, including South Korea, the AIIB has been seen as a potential counterbalance to U.S.-led multilateral lenders such as the ADB and the World Bank.
The United States and Japan did not join the AIIB while calling for transparency and higher governance in the new bank.
Along with concerns over transparency in the AIIB, there are worries that China could exploit the new lender as a means to increase its own economic and geopolitical influence. (Yonhap)