, Volume 93, Number 5

Alice de Jonge
This article uses recursivity theory to examine the emerging nature and position of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) from four different perspectives. Part one describes important domestic drivers within China providing motives for the AIIB initiative. These include domestic overinvestment in infrastructure and construction, combined with environmental stresses compelling the shift towards a more sustainable economy. Part two examines regional networks and linkages that the AIIB is becoming part of. These include China’s ‘one belt, one road’ initiative, and various collective initiatives based around ASEAN. In part three, this article explores the AIIB’s appearance on the development finance scene as an example of ‘contested multilateralism’—where a new multilateral institution emerges to challenge the rules and practices of existing institutions. The AIIB has entered into co-financing agreements with many of its multilateral development bank peers. Its standards and procedures are strongly influenced by existing ones, even while it begins to influence the practices of its partner multilateral development banks. Part four examines the potential influence of a future alliance between the AIIB and the UNCCC’s Green Climate Fund. Such an alliance would require an even greater degree of compliance by the AIIB with global standards of transparency and good governance, as well as expanding the scope for the AIIB to influence regional climate change adaptation and mitigation infrastructure initiatives.

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