Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus
President Xi Jinping chairs the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 and delivers a keynote speech at the summit in Beijing, capital of China, June 17, 2020. (Photo/Xinhua)
President Xi Jinping is set to address a key meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on Tuesday at which analysts said he may unveil more policies to support the bank as it helps fund regional and global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi will speak in Beijing at the opening ceremony of the fifth annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the AIIB, to be held via video link.
A key message Xi may deliver, analysts said, is that China, as the world’s first major economy that has shown a robust recovery from the downturn caused by COVID-19, will assume more responsibility in fueling regional and global economic recovery.
“The AIIB has become an important strength in promoting regional economic recovery, and China’s offering of more support policies to the bank will bolster the momentum in this regard,” said Xu Xiujun, a researcher of international political economy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the author of a book about the AIIB.
The AIIB has doubled available funds under its COVID-19 crisis recovery facility to provide up to $10 billion in financing to help mitigate adverse impacts for its member economies. So far the bank has approved loans earmarked for coronavirus response in close to a dozen Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mongolia and Indonesia.
Xu said the establishment of the crisis recovery facility reflects the development-oriented nature of the AIIB, which, with its efficient operation mechanism and simplified approval procedures, can respond quickly to funding demands from different countries.
Another important part of Xi’s speech, Xu said, is likely to be sharing China’s experience in epidemic containment and sharing China’s growth opportunities with the world.
The AIIB said in a statement that the virtual meeting, to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, will be the first in the format for AIIB and was designed to respond to the pandemic and the need for continued dialogue with stakeholders.
Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and former vice-minister of commerce, said Xi’s participation at the opening ceremony shows the leadership’s recognition of AIIB’s achievements over five years.
“As a multilateral development institution, the AIIB is leading the reform of the global governance system, and developing countries are playing more significant roles in the institution to promote international coordination in the fields of infrastructure construction and green and digital economic development,” he said.
Liu Ying, a senior researcher at Renmin University of China’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, said the AIIB will better provide financial support to narrow the huge financing gap for infrastructure construction in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Through promoting infrastructure cooperation and construction based on the multilateral network, it will strengthen the world’s economic growth, especially in the post-pandemic era, Liu said.