Membership in Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will Strengthen Maltese Relations with Asia

MEDIA ROOM

The Chinese Ministry of Finance accepted Malta’s application to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The membership is set to be finalised by April 15th in order for this multilateral development bank to be up and running by the end of 2015.

The aim of the AIIB is to provide Asian developing countries with access to funds to carry out infrastructural projects across several domains including transportation, energy, agriculture, telecommunications and urban development. This massive initiative will complement other infrastructures already providing similar assistance such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. This will be rendered possible through different support measures mainly in the form of loans, equity investments and guarantees.

China will be the principal shareholder of this $50 billion initial capital investment that allows a maximum of 25% non-Asian shareholding. Alongside Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Switzerland and 30 other countries, Malta will be one of the prospective founding members who will have the right to set the rules of this bank.

In fact, together with all the others prospective founders, Malta will be involved in discussions concerning the approval of the AIIB’s article of agreement in the coming weeks, that will define governance and accountability within the context of the bank’s operations.

According to finance minister Edward Scicluna, “This partnership is a reflection of the Maltese government’s endeavours to forge closer ties with the Asian market as part of its economic growth roadmap.”

Malta as a financial services centre

Furthermore, the minister believes that seeking friendship and cooperation with Asian countries, especially in view of China being at the forefront of this global initiative, can greatly benefit Malta in terms of its potential to excel as a financial services centre and a catalyst of investment initiatives that bridge the two continents.

Referring to International Monetary Fund research, the minister sustained that efficient infrastructure investment in countries outside of Europe will serve for widespread economic growth both in the near future and in the long run.