Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Welcome AIIB

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, (亚洲基础设施投资银行 or 亚投行) is just now finishing its drive for founding membership (31 March 2015). Under first-stage leadership by China, those on-board as Founding Members include a large number of Asian & major Western nations, including the UK, Russia, Brazil, Egypt & Turkey. Many have communicated their application for membership in the closing days & hours.

Notably missing are the USA and Japan. The USA has been a critic of AIIB, though in past days has greatly moderated its opposition as American allies have increasingly ignored US disapproval and joined anyhow. (The USA itself may belatedly participate - see these news accounts: here and here).

It seems to be all about influence. The World Bank, for example, has 188 members (IBRD) but in the past was quite explicit about US influence on leadership: "Traditionally, the Bank President has always been a U.S. citizen nominated by the President of the United States, the largest shareholder in the bank. The nominee is subject to confirmation by the Board of Governors, to serve for a five-year, renewable term."  Recent World Bank explanations are less revealing: "Dr. Jim Yong Kim is the 12th president of the World Bank Group. He was selected by the Boards of Executive Directors for a five-year renewable term." [Kim is the 12th US citizen in a row appointed as President] Analysis of this US hegemony can be read here and here (links)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), with 67 members, has been largely controlled by Japan -- at least so far, as to date all nine Presidents have been Japanese.

So tall tales of "fair governance" concerns holding back Japan and the USA are weighty as wind from a peasant's backside. If the AIIB is dominated by China, the process of big-power influence will be nothing new...

For most of us little folk, and for the very poor who need help most, it doesn't much matter if the loans we're supplied (and the bosses who offer aid) are from the USA, Japan or China. More help needed !