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AIIB’s August Activities

29 August 2017

As part of a continuing stakeholder engagement program, the Australian Treasury hosted a roundtable discussion to update Australian stakeholders on the AIIB’s recent activities.

Held at The Treasury’s Sydney office, the roundtable was attended by representatives of policy advisory bodies, multilateral development institutions, infrastructure investors and professional services firms. Officials from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also attended the session.

Mr Chris Legg, Chief Advisor to The Treasury, described the AIIB’s evolution since its formation in December 2015, highlighting its continued progress in developing operational and strategic sector policies. Challenges of building a brand new institution from the ground-up were also discussed. The Bank holds its three thematic principals of cross-country connectivity sustainable infrastructure and catalysing private sector investment as central to all its engagement.

Mr Legg elaborated on the AIIB’s recent milestone – the approval of the Energy Sector Strategy at the June 2017 Annual Governors Meeting. The Strategy reflects a shared vision and pragmatic approach to guiding the Bank’s investment in this sector. Transport and Smart Cities sectors were identified as the next possible strategy contenders to be developed by the Bank.

The Bank is continuing to recruit staff and was encouraged with the continued interest it is receiving from domestic, as well as regional and non-regional applicants. The AIIB hopes to have 150 permanent staff by the year’s end.

The AIIB is continuing with the development of its Complaints Handling Mechanism. Information collected from CEIU’s first round of public consultation is being reviewed before being published prior to the commencement of the second round of public consultation.

Treasury also met with the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Department. Discussions included the recent AIIB membership of the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Timor Leste and Tonga, as well as areas of mutual cooperation to assist in the development aspirations of these countries.  The ADB highlighted challenges in providing assistance into the Pacific region due to the tyranny of distance and resulting cost pressures that are sometimes brought to bear on a project.

Mr Legg reiterated the AIIB’s intention to focus on project-finance, and although it did not have a concessional funding facility, the AIIB does have a Project Preparation Special Fund to assist AIIB members in the preparation of potential infrastructure projects within their respective countries.