The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced on Wednesday its board of governors has approved applications from Papua New Guinea and Kenya to join the bank, thus increasing its approved membership to 86.
The two prospective members, one regional and one non-regional, will go through the required domestic procedures and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank before they become its members officially. They will obtain shares in the bank from its existing pool of unallocated shares, according to the Beijing-headquartered AIIB.
"We're very happy to welcome Papua New Guinea and Kenya as prospective members of AIIB," said Danny Alexander, vice-president and corporate secretary of the bank.
"AIIB now has 86 approved members from six continents. This shows a strong commitment to promoting infrastructure development through rules-based multilateral cooperation with high standards of governance."
Headquartered in Beijing, AIIB is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve socioeconomic outcomes in Asia and beyond by investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors.
At its launch in January 2016, a total of 57 members signed AIIB's Articles of Agreement. In 2017, the bank announced the approval of another 27 prospective members, and it expects to continue welcoming new members.
"AIIB is not subject to political interference, nor does the bank get involved in political conflicts internationally or between its members. It focuses on promoting regional economic and social development and improving the welfare of the people in participating countries and regions," AIIB President Jin Liqun was quoted as saying in an interview with Xinhua News Agency in January.
Two years after it was launched, AIIB had granted loans totaling more than $4.2 billion, leveraging over $20 billion in funds from the public and private sectors.
On April 11, the bank announced its approval of a $140 million loan to a project, co-financed with the World Bank, to improve rural road connectivity and management that will benefit approximately 1.5 million rural residents in Madhya Pradesh in India.
"This project will provide sustainable and safe last-mile connectivity to small villages and improve mobility of the rural population of Madhya Pradesh ... It is a typical reflection of our priorities of enhancing economic growth and sustainability through infrastructure investment," said Supee Teravaninthorn, director-general of investment operations at AIIB.
The bank has been seeking cooperation with strong institutional partners.