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World Bank chief endorses rival Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Shawn Donnan
Financial Times, London
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The World Bank's US-appointed president has vowed to find "innovative" ways to work with a new Chinese-led Asian infrastructure bank, welcoming it as a "major new player" in the world of development.

The overture by Jim Yong Kim comes ahead of next week's World Bank and International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington. It also marks a split with the administration of US President Barack Obama which nominated the medical doctor and former university president to head the World Bank in 2012.

With geopolitical imperatives and its competition with China for influence in the Pacific Rim firmly in mind the US unsuccessfully lobbied allies such as Australia, Japan, and the UK not to join the nascent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Behind that push by Washington has also been a desire to protect the Bretton Woods institutions over which the US and Europe now wield veto power. So the move by one of those institutions' heads to break from the US and set out a vision for co-operation with the new institution marks another blow to Washington's diplomatic efforts.

Dr Kim has said he was willing to work with the AIIB before. But in a speech on Tuesday in Washington he went further, offering his strongest endorsement yet of the AIIB and putting it high on the agenda for next week's meetings. ...

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