Egypt is the fifth largest recipient of infrastructure investments by the China backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), said Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said on Saturday.
Speaking at the AIIB’s annual meeting in Luxembourg, Minister Maait said Egypt was the first non-Asian country to receive the bank’s investments given its strategic location which enables it to create partnerships with Asian markets.
Set up in 2015 as an initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, AIIB was initially met with scepticism by many countries that feared it would become a China-dominated organisation without strong lending standards and prone to corruption. But many countries eventually embraced the institution.
Many European countries have joined the AIIB. In total 18 EU member states have joined, which has given the AIIB international more credibility.
The bank’s member base has now grown from an initial 57 to the current 97.
It has become an important tool for China in financing its Belt and Road Initiative, approving loans for this purpose.
In April, the bank approved membership requests from four new countries: Côte D’Ivoire, Guinea, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China remains the single largest shareholder with about 26 percent of its voting shares, with India and Russia a distant second and third at 7.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively, according to its website.
India has been the largest single recipient of the AIIB’s projects so far, getting about a quarter of its financing, said the bank’s Corporate Secretary Sir Danny Alexander at the Caixin Summit Hong Kong last June.