China's AIIB opens its first overseas office in Abu Dhabi

It's based at The Abu Dhabi Global Market

From left, Laval Wong Sick Wah, head of office of AIIB’s interim operational hub; Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and of ADGM; Luky Eko Wuryanto, VP and chief administration officer, AIIB; Mohamed Al Suwaidi, director general of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the UAE’s alternate governor on the board of governors of the AIIB; and Adel Al Hosani, operations department director, ADFD. Photo: AIIB
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The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has set up its first overseas office in Abu Dhabi, as it seeks to expand its operations in the region and drive sustainable growth.

The office is based at The Abu Dhabi Global Market, marking the bank’s first overseas office outside its headquarters in China, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The opening of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s operational office in Abu Dhabi … aligns with the bank’s objectives and ambition to extend its operations and development initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa region,” Mohamed Al Suwaidi, director general of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the UAE’s alternate governor on the board of governors of the AIIB, said.

“This will add momentum to sustainable economic development in developing nations.”

By attracting global investments, the UAE helps to drive sustainable development in line with the objectives of AIIB, Mr Al Suwaidi said.

In April, a host member agreement to establish the office at Abu Dhabi Global Market was signed by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, President-designate of the Cop28 summit and the UAE governor of the AIIB, and Jin Liqun, president of the AIIB.

The agreement to host the overseas operational office of the AIIB reflects the UAE’s commitment to enhancing co-operation with international organisations and institutions focused on sustainable economic growth for developing countries, Dr Al Jaber said at the time.

The office will be a strategic destination in the Middle East and the world, supporting the bank’s development agenda and financing infrastructure projects to achieve sustainable economic growth, especially in the Global South, he said.

“The world is playing catch-up on the goals of the Paris Agreement and the most significant obstacle we face is capital,” Dr Al Jaber said.

Based in Beijing, AIIB has 106 members, with the UAE joining as a founding and permanent member in 2015.

The bank has $100 billion in capital and the UAE’s contribution is about $1.185 billion. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is mandated to represent the UAE as a founding member of the bank.

Since its establishment in January 2016, AIIB has financed 232 projects worth $44.41 billion to support economic and social development in different countries.

Luky Eko Wuryanto, vice president and chief administration officer of AIIB, cited the UAE’s rapid development and robust international relations as reasons for the bank to opt for Abu Dhabi as its operational base.

“The UAE is an excellent choice for our first overseas venture. I am confident this new hub will advance our efforts to enhance sustainable development throughout the region and elsewhere,” he said.

The aim is to "bridge the gap" between the bank and its partners, and "better access global financial centres", which will enable AIIB to sustain its growth trajectory, he added.

The opening of the office in Abu Dhabi comes at a time when the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, prepares to host the Cop28 climate summit from November 30 to December 12.

The issue of climate finance remains a key concern for countries as they focus on cutting emissions to limit global warming.

Updated: September 20, 2023, 9:56 AM