The Philippines is keeping its doors open to becoming a founding member of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) until the year-end deadline to consider all factors involved more carefully, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Fifty countries have so far signed the AIIB’s Articles of Agreement, without the Philippines.
But the DOF said in a statement on Monday the Philippines remains a prospective founding member of the multilateral bank.
On Monday, the AIIB announced that 50 Prospective Founding Members (PFMs) have signed the bank’s Articles of Agreement, namely:
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
The AIIB said the Articles remain open to membership by the remaining seven Prospective Founding Members (PFMs), including the Philippines, until the end of 2015.
“As the deadline to sign is on December 2015, the Philippines is taking the time given to prudently consider its membership,” the DOF said.
The department explained that not signing the agreement does not preclude the Philippines from joining before the end-2015 deadline.
WB, ADB welcome more infra funding prospect
Meanwhile, the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) welcomed the signing of the AIIB’s Articles of Agreement, expecting more funds to be allocated to pro-poor infrastructure.
“I congratulate all founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on the establishment of the new development institution today. More funding for infrastructure will help the poor, and we are pleased to be working with China and others to help the AIIB hit the ground running,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
Kim stressed that the developing world’s infrastructure investment needs are too huge for any single institution to finance.
To date, the world spends about $1 trillion a year on infrastructure, but the vast majority of that goes to developed countries.
Emerging markets and low-income countries face an annual gap of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending.
“With strong environment, labor and procurement standards, the AIIB will join us and other development banks in addressing the huge infrastructure needs that are critical to ending poverty, reducing inequalities and boosting shared prosperity,” Kim added.
Manila-based lender ADB, meanwhile, calls the signing of the agreement by the founding members an important milestone in the development of the bank.
“ADB is committed to working closely and co-financing with AIIB to address the vast infrastructure needs facing Asia by using our long experience and expertise in the region,” it said.