China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved seven new prospective members, bringing the total approved membership to 77.
In a statement over the weekend, the Beijing-based multilateral lender announced the seven new members as Bahrain, Cyprus, Samoa, Bolivia, Chile, Greece and Romania.
The seven will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital participation with the bank, it said.
The equity allocated to new prospective members are from the bank’s existing pool of unallocated shares.
“More and more countries are signing up to be members of AIIB because they see how internationalism can promote development in Asia, with far reaching benefits for the global economy.” said AIIB President Jin Liqun.
“We welcome our new prospective members and thank them for joining us in our efforts to meet the infrastructure needs in the region,” he said.
At its launch in January 2016, there were 57 signatories to AIIB Articles of Agreement. Last March, the bank approved 13 prospective members who are currently in the process of finalizing their membership.
The multilateral development bank was founded to bring countries together to address the daunting infrastructure needs across Asia.
Headquartered in Beijing, AIIB seeks to improve economic and social development in Asia by investing in high quality, financially viable and environmentally friendly infrastructure projects.
It began operations last year, and has been seen by some as rival to the World Bank and the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, which was founded in 1966.
Late last year, the Philippine Senate ratified the articles of agreement on the AIIB. In February, the Philippines contributed P1.9 billion of its capital. The $196 million subscription is payable in five years.