Egypt joins China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Egypt has been approved as a founding member of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, opening the way for it to benefit from the bank’s $50 billion in funds, the foreign ministry confirmed Thursday.

This comes after China’s Ministry of Finance had announced Tuesday that Egypt, Norway and Russia were approved as prospective founding members of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

“Egypt, Norway and Russia have been approved by the current founding members to officially become members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,” China’s finance ministry’s statement reads.

Britain, Germany, France and Italy are also among the 57 founders of the AIIB, despite scepticism about it in Washington and Tokyo.

As a result of its acceptance, Cairo will also have access to its “vast funding opportunities to finance development and infrastructure projects,” the ministry said.

It will also be able to participate in formulating the institution’s regulations and policies, the ministry said.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has vowed to revive Egypt’s economy battered after years of political turmoil.

In March, at an international investment conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt signed investment contracts worth $36.2 billion aimed at kick-starting economic growth.

China and 20 other countries signed a memorandum of understanding in October to establish the AIIB.

The new multinational lender is seen as a rival to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, two institutions under strong US influence.

Washington has voiced concern about whether it would meet international governance, environmental and social standards, with President Barack Obama’s administration waging an intense but low-profile lobbying campaign against it.

China is expected to foot the bulk of the initial money needed to get the AIIB started, with donations from other members set to increase the size of the overall fund to more than $100 billion.

*Amwal Al Ghad English has edited to the story.

Source: AFP