In mid-April, during the World Bank and IMF spring meetings, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB, see Observer Summer 2014, Spring 2016) and the Bank signed a joint co-financing framework agreement. According to the World Bank, the agreement “paves the way for the two institutions to jointly develop projects this year.” The Bank is expected to prepare and supervise all projects in accordance with its policies and procedures, while the AIIB is expected to approve $1.2 billion in financing. Nearly a dozen co-financed projects are under discussion, including in the water, transport and energy sectors in Central, East and South Asia. The first project, a national slum upgrading project in Indonesia, was approved by the AIIB board in late June with the AIIB and the World Bank each contributing $216.50 million towards the total project costs.
During an April event at the Asia Society Policy Institute in Washington DC, AIIB president Jin Liqun commented that there is “vast room for cooperation” between the AIIB and the World Bank. Moreover, he emphasised that the AIIB “is the product of so many experts with years of experience working at other institutions”, including at the World Bank. This includes former Bank staffer Joachim von Amsberg, who was appointed as one of five AIIB vice presidents in February. Amsberg worked at the Bank from 1993, including as country economist for poverty strategies in Brazil, country director for the Philippines and Indonesia, and most recently vice president of development finance.