The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an ideal partner for Egypt since it does not impose any political conditions to finance projects, unlike some of the world’s leading lending banks and funds, Egyptian Experts said.
“The AIIB has become Egypt’s investment partners in recent years as the bank pumped hundreds of million U.S. dollars to support the construction of a number of projects in Egypt,” Abu Bakr al-Deeb, a Cairo based Economic Expert, told.
The expert added that the Egyptian government is rebuilding almost the entire infrastructure of the country and this requires billions of U.S. dollars, noting that the budgets of the government and the Egyptian banks cannot cover the costs of such giant projects.
“That’s why the AIIB will play a major role in rebuilding Egypt’s infrastructure since it facilitates the procedures of getting loans,” al-Deeb said.
The AIIB was formally established in 2015 and has become a promising player in the development and modernization of the global economy. It has now grown to 103 approved members worldwide.
By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia and beyond, the bank is meant to better connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.
One of the AIIB-funded projects is improving rural sanitation services for more than 800,000 people in Egypt, the expert said. “Another major project is financing the Benban Solar Park in Upper Egypt, which aims to generate around 2 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity through a total of 40 stations,” al-Deeb said.
These projects will help develop its infrastructure in the fields of services and energy, al-Deeb said, stressing that a project like Benban solar park will help Egypt export clean energy to its neighbors. “It will also help Egypt increase its use of renewable energy to 22 percent of all domestic energy use,” he revealed.
The influence and achievements of the AIIB are growing so rapidly that it has moved out of Asia and the pacific and started large cooperation with African countries.
The AIIB now has 10 members and nine prospective members from Africa. AIIB’s approved African members are responsible for over 60 percent of Africa’s gross domestic product and represent over 46 percent of Africa’s population.
In November and December 2018, a high-ranking delegation from the bank, headed by AIIB President Jin Liqun, visited Egypt where the delegation held important talks with government officials and investment banks in Egypt for setting up joint ventures, especially in the infrastructure and energy fields.
During the visits, the AIIB delegation expressed willingness to pump new money for investments in Egypt’s infrastructure sector, namely the development of railways, the public transport bus network, expansion of subway lines, modernization of Egyptian ports and airports, and development of the new and renewable energy sector.
“The AIIB represents a significant leap in international standards and transparency. China created an opportunity to manage global financing with a new mechanism with more transparency away from control, the hegemony of the U.S.,” said Kareem al-Omda, professor of economy with the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport.
He noted that Egypt is a founding member of the AIIB which funds a number of huge investments in Egypt. “African countries, including Egypt, welcome Chinese investments, and Africa is in need of a lot of infrastructure projects. The AIIB offers big investments that help achieve development with no political conditions,” al-Omda said.
He said that Cairo is looking forward to opening up with Beijing, stressing that Egypt feels comfortable in dealing with China as it does not mix business with politics. “China does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and I expect that the role of this AIIB will grow in the future,” the expert said.