Developing nations take top posts in AIIB
Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) - February 9, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Developing nations are sitting at the top posts of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a move seen to make the lender more sensitive to Asia’s growing needs.

In a statement, the China-led multilateral organization said it named five new vice presidents, two of whom hail from developing nations, India and Indonesia.

The rest come from South Korea, United Kingdom and Germany.

“I find this a good development,” National Treasurer Roberto Tan told The STAR in a text message last Monday.

“In a way, recruiting Asians in senior management is a positive evidence of AIIB molding its identity as an Asian development bank where Asian culture, traditional and local practices are understood...,” he said.

Tan has represented the Philippines before the AIIB during its past meetings.

The new vice-presidents and their respective offices were Korean Kyttack Hong, also chief risk officer; Indian D.J. Pandian (chief investment officer); Indonesian Luky Eko Wuryanto (administration); British Danny Alexander (corporate secretary); and German Joachim von Amsberg (policy and strategy).

Compared with the US-chaired World Bank and the European-led International Monetary Fund (IMF), AIIB’s set of senior officials has more members from Asia and developing economies.

At the World Bank, for instance, only Sri Mulyani Indrawati from Brazil holds a top post as managing director. Joining her are mostly American or European nationals led by its president, Korean-born Jim Yong Kim, a US citizen.

At the IMF, managing director Christine Lagarde from France appointed the first deputy managing director from developing Asia in the person of Min Zhu from China.

Critics say this has made developed nations control the Breton Woods institutions, putting strings and conditions on credit extended to their poorer counterparts.

“I think China is doing a good job of balancing Asian priorities against the imperative to show that this is a truly global arrangement...,” De La Salle University political analyst Richard Heydarian said in a separate text message.

“This is good news for the Philippines too, because it can count on friendly countries with similar needs having influence on AIIB project designs and priorities,” Heydarian said.

He was pertaining to Indonesia and India, among the largest economies who are also “suffering” from dire infrastructure needs.

In announcing the country’s participation to AIIB last Dec. 30, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima had said AIIB could become another funding source for the Philippines’ infrastructure needs.

AIIB, which has a total capital stock worth $100 billion, is yet to draw up its lending rules and regulations.

“(Indonesia and India) will push for greater AIIB footprint (not only) in their home court, but also across the region, particularly in new growth areas...,” Heydarian said.

Politically, putting the two nations at the helm could also signal how China wants to separate AIIB from its political disputes in the region.

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