Chinese President Xi Jinping (2022)

By the end of 2020, the AIIB could count 102 approved member countries. The participation of Europe’s largest economies as founding members of the AIIB was critical to the AIIB obtaining a triple-A credit rating from the world’s leading rating agencies.

This paper provides an overview of the institution’s close alignment with China and the concentration of decision-making power in its President. It then examines the AIIB’s policy provisions on transparency and disclosure as the institution positions itself to enter a dynamic growth phase, as well as emblematic projects including AIIB’s first standalone project in Indonesia, the Mandalika Urban Development and Tourism Project that has generated criticism and scrutiny both from civil society organizations and the international human rights community over violations of indigenous people’s rights and the militarization of land conflicts.

The AIIB plays an important role in China’s efforts to shape a new form of multilateralism in which it defines the rules. China’s President, Xi Jinping, refers to it as a new type of professional, efficient, and clean multilateral development bank (MDB). He had proposed the establishment of both the AIIB and China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the same year and for the same purpose. However, in its early years, the AIIB sought to clearly demarcate itself from the BRI. This is no longer the case. The AIIB now refers to the natural complementarity between the two.

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