The UAE has signed the Articles of Agreement (AOA) establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing yesterday, and has become a founding member of the international financial institution that was first announced during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) session held in Indonesia in October 2013.
Under the directives of the UAE Leadership, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State led discussions on behalf of the UAE. After agreeing on the basic principles, ADFD was mandated to represent the country in AIIB Governors' Council as well as coordinate, manage and follow-up projects implemented through this partnership.
The AOA was signed on behalf of the UAE by Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), carrying out the Fund's mandate to represent the country as a founding member of AIIB. With this, the UAE joins 57 other nations that have already become founding members in the Beijing-based institution.
The proposal to set up AIIB was initiated with the aim of establishing a new platform to promote regional and international cooperation in infrastructure development across Asia with a focus on energy, power, transportation, telecommunications, rural infrastructure, agriculture development, water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development and logistics, among others.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: "The signing of the AOA, establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, is a historic moment for the UAE. It articulates the vision of our wise leadership and the importance they attach to supporting infrastructure development projects. This agreement is crucial in paving the way for accelerating economic development across Asia. In addition to enhancing the country's role within the global economy, the UAE's affiliation to the institution as a founding member will support the country's growing interests in Asia. "
Expected to start official operations by the end of 2015, the bank seeks to provide new financial resources for infrastructure development and improvement across Asia, while maintaining balanced economic growth in the countries of the region while addressing the financial challenges facing infrastructure projects.
The bank will additionally promote investment activities, specifically in productive sectors that leverage available resources and support projects that translate a long-term economic impact on the region. In particular, AIIB will cater to the development needs of its least economically developed members, and encourage the private sector to invest in projects and initiatives with widespread development impact.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) said: "The signing of this agreement with AIIB is aligned with the vision of the UAE leadership to promote international collaboration towards fulfilling the development goals of developing countries."
He added: "The UAE has been playing a prominent role in aiding emerging countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable development through extending developmental and humanitarian assistance. AIIB's objectives are well aligned with the social, humanitarian and development aid program carried out by the UAE in more than 145 countries across the world.
"The UAE's affiliation to AIIB as a founding member will boost international cooperation towards furthering development efforts across Asia. Additionally, it will give fresh impetus to the economies of Asian countries through the infusion of more funds to infrastructure projects that will help stimulate economic growth and create hundreds of new job opportunities."
Al Suwaidi also indicated that the bank will primarily focus on bridging the gap in the availability of adequate financial resources for infrastructure projects that have resulted in poor infrastructure investment in Asian countries.
He expressed his confidence that the UAE, with its long history spanning more than 43 years in financing quality infrastructure projects to the highest international standards, can effectively contribute to the growth and diversification of resources dedicated to fund infrastructure projects across Asia. This will be achieved through offering concessionary loans to finance development projects and deepen regional cooperation and integration with other Asian nations in areas of mutual interest.
The UAE was ranked as the largest donor of official development aid according to a report issued by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2013 and 2014. The country's development aid in 2014 totalled Dh18 billion, or 1.17 percent of the nation's GDP.