In January 2016, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) became operational in Peking. For the first time, China heads a multilateral bank, in which Western countries such as Germany are also involved. These give the Peking-dominated AIIB international credibility, and also in capital markets. The AIIB stands for China’s growing influence on the global financing of large infrastructure projects. It creates new competition for established finance institutions, especially for the World Bank, dominated by the US.
In the course of the AIIB founding, environmental and human rights groups warned that funded projects’ protection standards could turn out to be too weak. Formulating these environmental and social standards therefore needs to be independently and systematically monitored by civil society. Non-sustainable environmental and socially irresponsible projects must be traced and strategies found for a socially balanced and environmentally sustainable development.
We should also keep Western industrial societies’ responsibility in mind. In January 2019, Germany decided on a closer financial cooperation with China, which included investments within the New Silk Road Initiative and large infrastructure measures. Aim is a better coordination of German and European initiatives with those of China. In this context, Germany promotes China’s admittance as a new state lender to the Paris Club. Civil society must however, also critically accompany these development financings.