Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) annual meeting set for today

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) two-day annual meeting kicks off virtually today. The AIIB—a 102-member, multilateral Asia-Pacific (APAC) development

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Photo: Reuters

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) two-day annual meeting kicks off virtually today.

The AIIB—a 102-member, multilateral Asia-Pacific (APAC) development bank—will host discussions on wide range of topics including investment in emerging technologies and climate action.

The economic impact of COVID-19 on the APAC region will likely dominate discussions. For the first time in living memory, regional economic growth is expected to contract by nearly 2% in 2020. While growth is expected to rebound to 6.6% in 2021, the pace of recovery remains contingent on a number of uncertain factors—a potential second wave of infections, geopolitical tensions between China and its neighbours and a global slowdown in trade due to pandemic-induced stagnation.

Expect China, the region’s largest economy, to lead the way in the event of a medium-term APAC rebound. The country continues to report promising numbers, with a 0.5% year-on-year uptick in exports and 3.2% GDP boost over the same period. As most other regional economies struggle, expect China’s already potent influence to translate to further gains in soft power, which would almost certainly be leveraged against neighbours and rivals such as India and the US, most likely through continued expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative. 

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