Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Thinking about the Asian infrastructure investment bank: can a China-led development bank improve sustainability in Asia?

By Robert J Hanlon

1st September, 2017 - Development, Economics and finance | Asia

This article offers three arguments outlining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s significance and to help policy planners navigate the complex relationship between China, the Bank and themes of sustainability. First, there is little uncertainty that China is serious about development and sustainability. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is but one extension of China’s increasing commitment to sustainability and should, therefore, be embraced by development stakeholders. Second, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s commitment to infrastructure development complements other multilateral development banks and should not be considered a challenger to the existing order of development lending practices. Rather, China’s interest in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank points to competitive pluralism and poses no threat to the existing international order. Finally, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s sustainability guidelines are not unique and fall in line with similar policy of other large development banks. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, therefore, reinforces sustainability norms while posturing itself as a partner for development.

Photo: Max12Max on Wikimedia Commons


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