The Japanese head of the Asian Development Bank says the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank led by China is years away from parity in resources or potential impact, the Financial Times reported Monday.
Takehiko Nakao, the latest Japanese finance ministry official to head the ADB, has recently joined other development bank presidents in welcoming the establishment of the AIIB and offering to work together with it on projects.
But in an interview with the newspaper, Nakao emphasised the relatively low lending capacity the AIIB is likely to have at the beginning and the fact that China is already a major player in infrastructure financing via banks such as the China Development Bank.
“I’m not trying to belittle the initiative,” he said. “I think it is understandable.”
But the ADB, he said, has almost US$100 billion in loans outstanding in Asia, twice the initial capital proposed for the AIIB.
The ADB’s authorized capital is more than US$150 billion.
“I’m not boasting that we are bigger. But we have a history and a certain lending capacity and expertise and diversified staff. We can continue to play a role,” Nakao said.
“I don’t think there will be major change to the world of development finance, although there can be interpretations as to the symbolic meaning of this.”
The United States and Japan declined to become founding members of the AIIB, although major European countries, India and Australia have joined the bank.
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