News Analysis: AIIB "increasingly attractive" to developing countries, say experts

CAIRO, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian experts said the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has achieved international expansion and become more attractive to developing countries that need financing for their ambitious development plans.

They made the remarks in the run-up to the opening of the eighth annual meeting of the AIIB Board of Governors in Egypt next Monday and Tuesday, the first time this flagship event of the bank has been held in Africa.

The experts said the AIIB's global influence is on the rise as it finances various sectors with low-interest rates and credit facilities.

Karim al-Omda, a professor with the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, attributed the bank's growing popularity to three main reasons.

First, the bank specializes in infrastructure investment, which is badly needed by developing countries suffering from a large deficit; second, it imposes neither political dictations nor economic pressures on borrowers; third, the bank allocates a large percentage to finance climate actions.

Waleed Gaballah, a member of the Egyptian Association for Political Economy, Statistics, and Legislation, told Xinhua that "the great demand from countries to join the bank, the financing packages it has provided, and the development projects it has funded are the greatest indications of the AIIB's success achieved in just a few years."

He added that the Beijing-headquartered multilateral development bank has grown from 57 founding members to 106 approved members since it began operation in 2016 with a mission to enhance social and economic progress in Asia and beyond.

Gaballah noted that the event being held in Africa "represents an acknowledgment of the importance of the African continent in global development and the AIIB's intention to give priority to financing projects in Africa in the coming period.

He highlighted the cooperation between the AIIB and Egypt, one of the founding members and the largest African shareholder of the bank, on three basic pillars -- enhancing financial sustainability, stimulating the private sector's participation in economic activity, and enhancing women's economic empowerment.

The expert noted that the AIIB's investment in Egypt currently amounts to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars, indicating that there are prospects for further increase, referring to the bank's involvement in a metro line project in northern Egypt's Alexandria, renewable energy projects, sanitation projects for Egypt's rural areas, etc.

Besides, Gaballah believed the conference would provide an ideal opportunity to shed light on the environmental problems and climate damage facing African countries, which have contributed little to global warming.

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