Belarus has invited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to consider transport sector projects as a short-term financing priority, representatives of the Belarusian Finance Ministry.

The first AIIB delegation visited Belarus on 13-15 May. The visit was organised with assistance of the Finance Ministry. The delegation was led by Senior Adviser to the AIIB President Konstantin Limitovskiy.

AIIB experts met with the Belarusian finance minister, the transport and communications minister, a deputy economy minister, representatives of Belarusbank and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus.

The experts also attended the Day of Financial Institutions in Belarus. AIIB representatives said the bank is ready to start programming investment projects for Belarus taking into account the bank’s mandate to finance the development of infrastructure in the area of transport, power engineering, housing and utilities, and urbanisation.

The AIIB representatives drew attention to the fact that Belarus is the first European country the bank is starting to cooperate with in the area of infrastructure financing. As a priority area of short-term AIIB financing the Belarusian side suggested focusing on transportation industry.

The bank backed the proposal. The head of the group of AIIB experts noted that transport projects improve connections between various parts of Belarus, offer a land bridge between the West and the East, thus fully matching one of the bank’s key principles of developing and supporting ties with Asia.

A visit of AIIB technical experts to discuss transportation industry projects will be the next step. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was established upon China’s initiative in 2015. The key goal of the bank is to overcome the infrastructure limitations that hinder economic development not only in Asia but beyond. Its charter capital is $100 billion.

At present the bank has 70 full members, with 27 countries working to secure their membership. The AIIB is designed to bolster and complement financing from other international development institutions such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB).

Belarus became an AIIB member on 17 January 2019. Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi was appointed Belarus Manager in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich was appointed Deputy Manager.