Mr. Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), was interviewed by the Belt and Road Ambassador Interview Program, where he discussed many aspects of the AIIB including its founding and vision, commonality between the AIIB and the Belt and Road Initiative, and how the values of AIIB align with the values of China.
Photo of Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Photo provided to Guangming Online)
The following are highlights of the conversation.
On the founding of AIIB and its focus on investment in infrastructure
When the Chinese leader initiated the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), it was designed to provide financing for its member countries, particularly developing countries to catch up with developed countries through investment in infrastructure and in other productive sectors. Our leader has a great vision, but how can we translate that vision into reality? The very basic idea is to set up a new type of Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) by focusing on infrastructure. Because the Chinese experience is, we started to invest in infrastructure early in the 1980s. By mid-1990s, the Chinese economy started to take off just on the basis of modern infrastructure. So, we believe infrastructure paves the path for poverty reduction, for the taking off of an economy, and for the possibility of catching up with developed countries.
On the values of AIIB and how it aligns with the values of the Chinese leader
To build up the well-being of the entire human society is the values of the Chinese leader, and I think we are exactly doing this. If we believe our job is not simply to pursue our personal interests, then you would be inspired, and you will be filled with a kind of enthusiasm to do things which you think is worth your life.
On the common vision shared by the Belt and Road Initiative and AIIB
The Belt and Road Initiative and the AIIB share the same vision of promoting global connectivity, promoting the globalized economy in which we all enjoy the outcome of 1+1 is more than two. We want to ensure that all the Belt and Road projects proposed to us by the member countries will be completed by high standards. And it is our job to give credibility to the Belt and Road Initiative.
On the difficulty AIIB faced during its founding and how it was overcome
Since China initiated this bank, how could we help all the members and probably future members to have confidence in the high standard of this bank? Starting from day one, as the president, as the management team, we did our best to operate by the highest possible standards. And it’s amazing to see that only 18 months after the bank was up and running, we got AAA rating by the major rating companies. It’s purely because of the rigorous implementation of the system we set up.
On the corporate culture at AIIB
As a new institution, we have people from many countries. Coming together, what kind of corporate culture are we going to build up? That’s a challenge. I always believe corporate culture is the key to the success of any institution. The institution should be attentive to the variety of the needs and requests of the staff. Young staff would like to see whether they could have a future in this institution. And senior people would like to know to what extent they can make the best use of the remaining life of their career to help building up a new institution. It’s not often that you could have a chance to build up a new institution. In most cases, the professionals simply work in a well-established institution. So quite a lot of senior people are very dedicated, because they want to bring their experience into this institution. They want to build up an institution with their own expectations built into it. Also, it’s very important for us to create a working environment in which all the people enjoy their dignity, self-esteem, and being treated fairly.
On the inclusiveness of recruitment at AIIB
Most of the MDBs only recruit professionals of their members. We don’t. We are inclusive. Regardless of the membership of your country, you can compete. We look at your professional experience, track record, we don’t look at your passport. And we also try to recruit as many female professionals as possible. And I set a great stool by their ethical standards. I don’t want corruption, I don’t want people who would break the rules, and I will not tolerate any harassment in this institution.