Liberia has become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after the Board of Governors of the bank approved Liberia’s membership at its Fifth Annual Meeting held in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
The AIIB is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia. Headquartered in Beijing, the bank began operations in 2016 and has now grown to 103 approved members worldwide.
Liberia’s approval, according to the Ministry of Information, follows a formal application made on April 13, 2020, by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
“This approval comes as President George Manneh Weah seeks to expand Liberia’s global economic leadership and presence to foster regional cooperation, economic development, and integration. Joining the AIIB presents an opportunity for Liberia to continue to expand its cooperation with the community of Development Finance institutions (DFIs) around the world,” a release from the Information Ministry said.
Liberia as a member is expected to benefit from projects financing that has a value of more than 20 to 30 times the total value of the investment the country makes in the bank, as the AIIB could hold equity share in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) venture in roads or energy development or in projects of similar nature.
With the membership approved, Liberia stands to benefit from the announced US$ 10 billion COVID-19 pandemic support package for member countries.
“The Liberian Government is particularly delighted to see that AIIB has already joined other multilateral development banks like the World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in their Covid-19 response by creating a Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF) to support members and clients in alleviating and mitigating economic, financial and public health pressures arising from COVID-19. Liberia as a small and developing country is no stranger to the deadly impact that a pandemic can wreak on a nation’s people and economy especially when they are ill-prepared. The Ebola outbreak hit the already fragile healthcare system very hard and collapsed the struggling economy. Five years on, the country is barely recovering and now is again faced with the Covid-19.
Liberia will also leverage its membership within the bank to attract Asian investors and development financing into the country, especially at a time the country needs all the investments it can get in the post-COVID-19 era.
The country’s accession is subject to the National Legislature ratification.
The country is looking forward to working with the bank to explore opportunities for resolving major development and infrastructure challenges and confronting other African countries, in the form of large road and electricity infrastructure deficits, climate change, and challenges to perfecting digital economic frontier.
The AIIB is also expected to partner with the MDBs to develop regional projects in the Mano River region. Liberia is presently exploring possibilities for regional projects with Guinea, Sierra Leone, or the Ivory Coast.”