Beijing-based AIIB opens Abu Dhabi office in face of China’s zero-Covid policy

Updated on Jul 07, 2022 11:44 AM IST
The West Asian emirate was chosen as the location keeping in mind its connectivity with many of the 105 members of the bank, which was formally established in 2015 and became operational the following year
Residential and commercial skyscrapers on the skyline of Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Bloomberg)
Residential and commercial skyscrapers on the skyline of Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Bloomberg)

BEIJING: The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on Thursday announced the opening of its first office outside its Beijing headquarter, in what appears to be an effort to negotiate China’s Covid-19-related policies including restrictions on international travel and strict quarantine requirements for returnees.

The new “interim” office will be in Abu Dhabi, one of the multilateral bank’s founding members, an AIIB release said on Thursday.

The West Asian emirate was chosen as the location keeping in mind its connectivity with many of the 105 members of the bank, which was formally established in 2015 and became operational the following year.

“The AIIB Board of Directors has approved the establishment of an Interim Operational Hub (the Hub), the bank’s first overseas office,” the multilateral lender said in a statement on Thursday.

“The preferred location for the hub will be Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), pending formal agreement to be finalised during the coming weeks,” the statement said, adding the “hub” location best fits the bank’s selection criteria, “…in particular superb connectivity to the bank’s global membership”.

The bank’s statement did not link the opening of the new office to Covid-related restrictions in China but tied it to the bank’s “rapid growth”, saying the expansion of bank members was “…the catalyst for opening an office that helps bring the bank both closer to its clients and to the front lines of its business”.

“The hub also provides proximity to global financial centres and connectivity with the international infrastructure ecosystem which is important to maintaining AIIB’s commercial momentum,” the statement said.

Given that the bank now has a portfolio of 181 projects in 33 member countries valued at $35.7 billion, China’s strict zero-Covid policy, marked by lockdowns, mass testing and strict quarantine policies would have likely hampered that “commercial momentum”, especially the monitoring of ongoing projects.

AIIB officials maintain that the bank follows strict protocols and good practices during the implementation of projects it funds, and doing so remotely - in the backdrop of travel restrictions - might not always be adequate and efficient.

For AIIB officials, every site visit abroad would mean weeks-long quarantine requirements on return to China.

“The hub will provide AIIB with a robust platform to enable effective supervision of its growing investment portfolio, strengthen its project monitoring and implementation services across the globe,” the statement said.

The opening of the Abu Dhabi office could just be the beginning, the statement indicated.

The hub has been designated as an ”interim” operation for the purposes of gaining experience prior to establishing AIIB’s long-term global presence, the bank statement said.

Informed by this experience, the bank will seek board authorisation for opening additional offices to better serve growing roster of clients and expanding stakeholder communities.”

India, the second largest shareholder in AIIB after China, has emerged as the bank’s largest borrower since 2016, bagging some 34 projects valued at over $8.7 billion until now.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The author was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.

    Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

    British author Salman Rushdie, whose writings made him the target of Iranian death threats that forced him into hiding, was attacked on stage Friday in western New York state. "A most horrible event just happened at #chautauquainstitution - Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage at #chq2022. The amphitheater is evacuated," one witness said on social media. Rushdie's condition was not immediately known.

  • This 2014 illustration made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a polio virus particle.

    Polio detected in New York's sewage water, suggests virus circulating

    The polio virus has been found in New York City's wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn't been seen in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday. State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming but not surprising.

  • A picture taken on August 12, 2022, shows shattered glass as a man walks in front of the building where according to Saudi officials, a suspect in a deadly 2015 Islamic State group attack on a Saudi mosque, blew himself up while being arrested by security forces in Jeddah this week.

    Saudi blast suspect kills self with suicide belt: Officials

    A suspect in a deadly 2015 Islamic State group attack on a Saudi mosque blew Saudi national Abdullah bin Zayed al-Bakri al-Shehri up while being arrested by security forces in Jeddah this week, Saudi officials said on Friday. Four others were wounded when Saudi national Abdullah bin Zayed al-Bakri al-Shehri set off the explosives belt, the official said. He was one of nine men wanted for the blast that killed 15 people -- mostly police -- near the Yemen border.

  • File phoro of Britain's Conservative Party leadership candidate Rishi Sunak.

    Rishi Sunak faces losing battle in race to be UK PM, Liz Truss likely to win

    Amid the race for the Conservative party leadership, British Prime Minister hopeful Rishi Sunak has vowed to support the most vulnerable people of the UK amid the rising energy crisis in the country. The Conservative party leadership results are just a few weeks away but it looks like Liz Truss's victory over Rishi Sunak is imminent. Not only this, independent surveys and polls have shown Truss consistently scoring ahead of Rishi Sunak.

  • The dried out river bed is seen at the head of the River Thames, in Kemble.

    Drought declared in England amid extreme hot weather

    England is officially in a drought across vast swathes of the country, the government's Environment Agency has announced, as another heat wave intensifies and water companies impose restrictions on household use. Parts of western, southern, central and eastern England were put into “drought” status following a meeting of the National Drought Group on Friday. The UK is currently struggling on many fronts. The drought is not only affecting England.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, August 12, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now