The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has maintained its “Lean, Clean and Green” core value. Joachim von Amsberg, AIIB’s Vice President of policy and strategy, said the bank has been employing the philosophy strictly and hopes to utilise technology in a beneficial way.

“We want to put the use of new technologies for the benefit of people into our DNA,” Amsberg told.

He used the energy sector as an example. Based on his observation, the key challenge in the energy sector is decarbonising energy systems. “Now, new technologies and cheaper technologies allow us to do that in a way that is competitive with traditional fossil fuels.”

“Cities will look very different in the future,” Amsberg said. “The combination of shared vehicles, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles will allow the future of cities to be very different from the past.”

He noted that AIIB is willing to help member countries to build “those cities of the future,” deploying new technologies to create “more sustainable, more liveable and ultimately more human-friendly cities.”

AIIB on ‘Lean, Clean & Green’ standards

Amsberg said the Lean, Clean and Green model has helped the bank get off to a strong start and find good projects. He went on to explain the significance of the theme.

“Green” means that AIIB provides member countries sustainable infrastructures and energy, decarbonising their economies with sustainable urban transport and sustainable cities.

“And it means that all our projects follow international project quality standards on environmental and social assessment, transparency and all those very important dimensions of product quality,” Amsberg said.

“Clean” refers to AIIB’s commitment to zero corruption. “We will only work with project sponsors and partners who commit to control of corruption. And we put into every project mechanisms to prevent corruption,” he said, adding that AIIB is using competitive bidding – a complaint-handling mechanism, and similar mechanisms of transparency, to ensure no money is misused in corruption.

Meanwhile, “Lean” represents AIIB’s aim to be a responsive development bank. Amsberg said AIIB is trying to respond to clients quickly and rely on partnerships rather than building a large team in every country.

“We would rather work with local partners, with strong project sponsors and help governments perform their function in preparing projects and overseeing those projects,” he said.

AIIB on Technology Lowering Development Gaps

In the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Amsberg mentioned that technologies that empower the masses would help reduce the wealth gap between the poor and the rich.

Based on his observation, some technologies “that require huge investments” are not likely to reduce the gap, but increase the gap. He pointed to chip manufacturing as an example. “If you think about chip manufacturing and other technologies that require billions of dollars of investment, only very few countries can afford to make those investments.”

Mobile communication and e-commerce, for example, empower the masses, which allows poor people and poor countries to leapfrog richer ones.

“Think about mobile communication. Everyone has access to mobile communication. Think about e-commerce, where today you have millions of small enterprises who conduct business on the e-commerce platforms. That would have been unthinkable without mobile communication, without e-commerce,” he said.