EBRD Managing Director for Infrastructure Thomas Maier on scope of cooperation
The board of directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has today approved its first batch of projects on the eve of its first Annual Meeting in Beijing.
One of the four projects is a co-financing with the EBRD of a road reconstruction project in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
EBRD Managing Director Thomas Maier is in Beijing to sign the newly approved project.
Before his departure he spoke about it and our future cooperation with the AIIB, which, he says, may span Asia, Europe and North Africa.
Q: You will be attending the inaugural Annual Meeting of the AIIB this weekend and sign the first joint project between EBRD and AIIB. What can you tell us about the project?
A: This is a road project in Tajikistan, it is part of the Central Asian Regional Connectivity Initiative and it will connect the capital city Dushanbe with the Uzbek and Russian border. It will also provide an important connection for the country and for the region mainly between China and Europe.
Q: Why is it so important for us?
A: It is important for us because Tajikistan had a lot of problems in the road sector. As part of the first phase of this project, which we incidentally co-financed with the Asian Development Bank who is also our partner in Central Asia, we have helped to instigate a number of reforms in Tajikistan’s road sector including road funding, improved pedestrian safety and a number of other things that together create an attractive transition and development package.
Q: The EBRD was at the forefront in the cooperation with the AIIB. How are the two institutions working together?
A: Recently, when it was clear that we needed more money to continue with this project, we asked the AIIB whether they would be interested in co-financing and indeed they were.
When we look at the architecture of the international financial institutions, it is very clear that there are two new important players. One is the AIIB, and the other is the New Development Bank or the so-called BRICS Bank.
With both banks we have had a lot of discussions on how we can cooperate and work together. With the AIIB we have identified quite a number of projects in joint countries where both the AIIB and we, the EBRD, are operating, and the Tajik road project is one of the first of quite of number of projects that we hope to do together. We are very encouraged by the way the AIIB has been set up because a number of principles that govern us in terms of environmental standards, public consultation, and procurement standards are being applied by AIIB as well. So, we are particularly pleased that in this first ever project that we are doing with the AIIB, the EBRD procurement, public sector consultation and other principles are applied one on one, not only for the EBRD portion but also for the AIIB portion. We are very grateful for the excellent cooperation that we have had with the AIIB so far on this project.
Q: What is the possible impact of our cooperation on Central Asia? Are there more projects in the pipeline you can already talk about?
A: We have been discussing both with the national authorities and with AIIB colleagues a number of other projects that we will do together. They will probably be in the road sector and also in municipal utilities sector focusing on Kazakhstan as well as on other markets.
I see a lot more cooperation including in the Caucasus, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt where colleagues from the AIIB and the EBRD are now talking about project developments together.