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Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank officially launched

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank officially launched

Beijing: The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been officially launched in Beijing and is expected to start operation early next year, the media reported on Saturday.

The launch of the bank on Friday, the first major multilateral lender with developing countries holding the majority of the shares and votes, came just six months after an article of agreement (AOA) was signed by 57 prospective founding members in June, and 26 months after President Xi Jinping proposed it in October 2013.

"The AIIB is legally established as the Articles of Agreement take effect today," said China's Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei.

The establishment of the AIIB marks a milestone in the reform of global economic governance system, Lou said.

The AIIB will be operational after board of directors and executive council meet for the first time. The meetings are slated to from January 16 to 18 in Beijing.

The bank's president will be officially appointed and the management team will be in place at the meetings.

The bank will start recruiting new members, Jin Liqun, the bank's president-designate, said, adding that members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) could apply to join the AIIB.

The bank will always be open to new membership, Jin said.

With authorized capital of $100 billion, the AIIB will initially prioritise investment in energy, power generation, transportation, rural infrastructure, environmental protection and logistics. It is expected to offer loans to the first batch of projects in mid-2016.

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