World Bank Group, China-led AIIB agree to deepen cooperation

By By David Lawder Features Reuters

(Copyright Reuters 2017)

The World Bank Group and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank said on Sunday they agreed to deepen their cooperation with a framework for knowledge sharing, staff exchanges, analytical work, development financing and country-level coordination.

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The memorandum of understanding signed at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington comes a year after the two multilateral lenders established mechanisms for cost-sharing and co-financing of investment projects.

Since then, the AIIB and the World Bank have co-financed five projects, supporting power generation in Pakistan, a natural gas pipeline in Azerbaijan, and projects in Indonesia to rebuild slums, improve dam safety and develop regional infrastructure.

They said in a joint statement that they are discussing more projects to be co-financed in 2017 and 2018.

"Signing this memorandum of understanding fits into our vision of a new kind of internationalism," AIIB President Jin Liqun said in a statement. "It deepens our relationship with the World Bank Group and sets up the mechanisms through which we can more easily collaborate and share information."

A World Bank spokeswoman said the knowledge-sharing memorandum was similar to one that was in place during the AIIB's early development stages, but which ended when the Beijing-based institution was formally launched in January 2016.

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She said the new agreement does not specify financing amounts or targets, adding that those will be determined through meetings and consultations to discuss the banks' respective portfolios.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told Reuters on Thursday that he wants to push the Washington-based lender's business model towards harnessing more private capital for development finance.

In a statement on Sunday, Kim said: "Collaboration between development institutions is essential to make the best use of scarce resources, crowd-in the private sector, and meet the rising aspirations of the people we serve."

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)