AIIB membership to help finance Ethiopia’s development: expert

AIIB membership to help finance Ethiopia’s development: expert

ADDIS ABABA, May 17 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia’s membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a good opportunity for the country’s infrastructure development, said an Ethiopian expert.

Ethiopia’s application to join the Asian Infrastructure Bank was submitted back in 2015. The bank, after assessing the application, on Saturday last week accepted Ethiopia as the third African country to join its platform, after South Africa and Egypt.

Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, an economic advisor to African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa, said the attractiveness of the AIIB is that governments are able to obtain an improved access to finance infrastructure projects and markets for their exports.

“Countries like Ethiopia would benefit from all commitments made by signatories of the AIIB agreements in trade negotiations,” he said.

“The multilateral system is particularly important for small countries, with a limited power, to exploit their size to improve their terms of trade. Their impact on terms of trade may be enhanced if terms are negotiated on a multilateral level,” he said.

Costantinos, also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University, told Xinhua that the AIIB membership, by framing countries’ concessions into legal commitments, provides powerful guarantees of governments’ policy directions.

As member of the AIIB, a China-initiated multilateral financial institution to address infrastructure needs, Ethiopia can access loan and other capacity building assistance to its infrastructure projects.

According to Costantinos, infrastructure development, urban development and housing, manufacturing and agricultural development, and human development are some of the areas that Ethiopia would benefit as an AIIB member country.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn also lauded his country’s membership to AIIB, saying that “the acceptance by the Bank has facilitated the situation for Ethiopia to get adequate financing to its different projects.”

It is a good opportunity for Ethiopia to get additional financier for its development projects, Desalegn said, adding that, AIIB’s lower interest rate, as compared with other commercial banks, benefits its member countries.