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Twenty countries on AIIB waiting list

Twenty countries on AIIB waiting list

(21 September 2015 – Singapore) According to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB) designated president Jin Liqun, over 20 countries are waiting to join the China-led investment bank.

The number could surpass membership in the Japan-led Asian Development Bank (ADB), which currently has 67 members, 19 of them outside of the Asia Pacific region.

"We have 57 countries (which are potential founding members) and to my knowledge...more than 20 countries are on the waiting list," Liqun told delegates of the Singapore Summit conference.

"That makes it more than 70. I'm sure there will be more countries which will be interested," added Jin, a former Chinese vice finance minister who was put forward by Beijing to head the bank and was elected in August by the prospective founding members.

According to some, AIIB is seen a rival to the World Bank and the Manila-based ADB, which has been headed by Japan, its biggest donor, since it was founded in 1966.

Both the US and Japan have declined to join the AIIB although they are members of the ADB, but Jin said the door remain open.

"It takes longer for some countries to reach their internal consensus in making their decision," he said.

"We've been very much patient. As you know, the door is open to all of the countries and if they make a decision just pick up the phone, make a call and we can handle the rest of the business," he said, referring to the US and Japan.

Australia is one of 50 founding member to have already signed while an additional seven have been given until the end of the year.

Based in Beijing, the bank will have capital of US$100 billion (A$139 billion), while US$20 billion will be paid upfront. Operations are expected to start next year.

China will be the biggest shareholder with 30%. Among non-Asian participants, Germany is the largest shareholder with 4.5%, followed by France with 3.4%and Brazil on 3.2%.

Jin said the AIIB is not aimed at challenging the ADB and the World Bank for influence in Asia as the region's funding requirements are so massive.

"Creating AIIB has never been about challenging existing institutions. The world stage is spacious enough to allow many actors to perform," he said

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