Statement By Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah, Head of Delegation of The Republic of Singapore at The 1st Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank25 Jun 2016
I thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting the 1st Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and for the excellent meeting arrangements and hospitality.
2. I would also like to congratulate President Jin Liqun and his team, as well as all founding members of the AIIB, on the significant progress made by the bank in the first six months of its establishment.
3. With the AIIB’s institutional and operational policy frameworks finalised and in place, it is important to sharpen the AIIB's focus in value adding to the current infrastructure landscape in Asia.
4. I will briefly touch on three areas which the AIIB could consider prioritising to foster sustainable economic development in Asia;
a) First, invest in innovative and energy-efficient urban infrastructure projects.
· As we know, Asia, together with Africa, has been projected to account for 86 per cent of growth in the world’s urban population over the next four decades.
· Not only can we expect new challenges in terms of housing and transport, there will also be greater need to address pressures of environmental pollution, climate change and public health emergencies.
· The AIIB can make a difference by investing in sustainable and cost-effective urban projects and solutions, such as intelligent waste management and pollution control systems.
b) Second, focus on improving trade and economic competitiveness of Asia through better connectivity. There is scope to grow intra-Asia trade as well as Asia-Europe and trans-Pacific trade.
· To boost trade growth and increase participation by our businesses in global value chains, there needs to be improvements in transport infrastructure such as road networks, air transport, ports and logistics, as well as information and communication technology.
· These are important factors in lowering the cost of doing business and increasing the international competitiveness of domestic firms in Asia.
c) Third, actively foster strategic partnerships with other institutions to increase the efficacy and relevancy of the bank’s operations.
· These partnerships can be categorised into three areas – deal origination, financing, and capacity building.
· Given the pressing demand for infrastructure development but a lack of well-prepared, bankable projects in the region, it is in the interest of the AIIB to partner other financial institutions to accelerate the process in which projects could be brought to fruition.
· The bank is moving in the right direction with its cooperation agreements with multilateral development banks. Going forward, the AIIB could also consider forming similar partnerships with the private lenders to encourage more private sector financing for a critical mass of infrastructure projects in Asia.
· Partnerships could also be extended to non-financial institutions to develop novel solutions to infrastructure development challenges in the region. For example, the AIIB can partner with institutions that are researching and developing solutions in urban planning and sustainability to serve Asia's needs.
5. Singapore remains strongly committed to working closely with the AIIB and the rest of the member countries to make impactful and progressive contributions in the region and beyond.
6. Thank you.