28 October 2016
Jim Kim promised to form an alliance with the AIIB. Photo: AFP
Jim Kim promised to form an alliance with the AIIB. Photo: AFP

US-nominated World Bank chief endorses China-led rival AIIB

The World Bank’s president has pledged to find “innovative” ways to work with the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, welcoming it as a “major new player” in the world of development.

Jim Yong Kim’s endorsement of the Chinese-led body comes before next week’s spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington.

It signals a split with the administration of US President Barack Obama, which nominated the medical doctor and former university president to head the World Bank, which traditionally has an American at its helm, in 2012.

The US unsuccessfully lobbied allies such as Australia, Britain and Japan not to join the AIIB.

Kim has said before that he is willing to work with the new bank.

But in a speech on Tuesday in Washington he went further, offering his strongest endorsement yet of the AIIB and putting it high on the agenda for next week’s meetings, the Financial Times reported..

Calling the AIIB and its fellow start-up, the BRICS-backed New Development Bank, “potentially strong allies” for the World Bank that could become “great new forces” to help the world’s poor, he pledged to quickly find ways to collaborate with the new institutions.

“If the world’s multilateral banks, including the new ones, can form alliances, work together, and support development … we all benefit — especially the poor and most vulnerable,” Kim said.

“I will do everything in my power to find innovative ways to work with these banks.”

One of those potentially innovative ways would be encouraging the AIIB to help finance projects run by the World Bank and subject to its environmental, labor and social standards, Kim said before his speech.

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