What do AIIB's procurements opportunities tell us about their development strategy?

Jin Liqun, president of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Photo by: Sikarin Thanachaiary / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA

It is nearing a year and a half since the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank opened its doors for operations on Jan. 16, 2016. Since its foundation, the Chinese-led bank has been shrouded in controversy. There were concerns that the bank was a political power play for regional control. There were concerns that it did not have appropriate governance structures. And the AIIB was thought to be competition to the Asian Development Bank whose relevance has been questioned in recent years.

But since operations began, the fears have subsided. There have been no large political power plays from the bank, and the ADB is still operational. Once-skeptical critics of the bank, such as the United States and Japan, have grown quieter.

Analyzing tenders and grants that have been fully or partly funding by the AIIB, Devex has investigated the bank’s priorities to understand what makes them stand apart from other players in development finance. Based on the data from the first 18 months, it appears the development strategy for the AIIB has been to progress slowly and learn from the best.

Collaborative efforts

Despite being the new kid on the block in development financing, the AIIB has not chosen to go it alone when it comes to financing, funding and managing projects. More than three-quarter of opportunities for open tender have thus far been collaborative efforts, seeing the AIIB partner with one of seven partners — the ADB, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Global Environment Facility, United Nations System, World Bank and most recently First Initiative.

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About the author

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    Lisa Cornish

    Lisa Cornish is a Devex Reporter based in Canberra, where she focuses on the Australian aid community. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane, and online through news.com.au. Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.