China is building the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to help other Asian countries and the rest of the world, and the bank will be "mean, clean and green", Jin Liqun, president-designate of the lender, said on Wednesday.
"The idea to create a new type of development bank is very straight forward, that is, to promote a broad-based development in Asia," he said in a keynote speech entitled Building Asian Banks at the Brookings Institute in Washington. Jin spoke to an audience of about 300 and scores more listened to his live broadcast outside the lecture room.
By having a "mean, clean and green" AIIB, Jin said he means that the bank will seek governance to the highest possible measurement, develop a green economy and fully fight possible corruption inside AIIB.
Asked by David Dollar, senior fellow at the foreign policy and global economic development program at Brookings, about how the AIIB will take actions to avoid the "slow and bureaucratic" problem that t he World Bank is having right now, Jin said that this will depend on the governance.
He said they depend on avoiding such problems on governance, and the rigorous implementation of the governance. "To stay mean is certainly not that easy. It like a human body and you have to go to the fitness center everyday to stay fit. So we have to go to the fitness center as an institution, which means to makes sure that we have no redundant positions," he said.
"A new type of bank is taking shape in the 21st century with a new way of governance," he said.
The China-led AIIB willfocus on supporting infrastructure construction for countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It will have total capital of $100 billion, with member countries contributing up to 75 percent of that amount.
In saying thatthe AIIB will aim to help other Asian countries, Jin said part of the cause of poverty in Asian countries is due to connectivity problemsand inefficiency in constructing infrastructure. The AIIB can supportinfrastructure construction to help connect transportation and trade between the member countries.
"Infrastructure has paved the way for China's taking-off over the past three decades," he said.
Jin quoted what he said President Xi Jinping had said when he met with finance ministers of the 75 countries that are founding members of AIIB: "China has benefited from the general support from the World Bank and IMF, and the Chinese people will never forget this. Now it is our time to contribute."
Commenting on Western skepticism about the political ambitions of the AIIB, Jin said that it is "nonsense" to claim the bank wants to overtake the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).He described the AIIB as "siblings" to the two lenders.
"I will not take this role (head of AIIB) without my experience in the World Bank as well as the ADB," he said.
Jin served as the deputy chair of the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds, and was vice-president of the ADB and vice-minister of China's Ministry of Finance.
He also said that though the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership has put China aside, China always welcomes the United States to join the AIIB.
"Previously, the issue is whether AIIB will invite non- regional countries to join. It is a legitimate issue as well as a practical issue," he said. "We welcome all countries to join as long as agreeing with the MOU (memorandum of understanding)."