NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – In recent weeks, China’s grand plan of launching the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been raving all over the world. The $100 billion multinational financial institution conceptualized by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013 and launched towards end of 2014, has aroused world-wide anticipation.
China has been a leading country in the area of infrastructure for many years. This is a constructive move taking full advantage of Chinese experiences and strong funding background; winning favor immediately.
Asia will benefit in terms of financing from the bank; the investors will get a handsome return. As a complement to existing multilateral development institutions, this open and inclusive AIIB will benefit all countries in the world.
The United States has been rallying its allies, in the West and elsewhere, not to consider shareholding in the new lender. But in a quick turn of events that is now being considered a diplomatic blunder and embarrassment for the US, its allies have dismissed the US calls with a number of them signing up to be founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. These include UK, Germany, France and Australia all signed up by beginning of April this year.
Kenya and Africa in general are working very hard in the field of infrastructure. They were previously chided by some western countries for looking East, however, they now enjoy tremendous support from China, including technology transfer and huge funding. Some local media have complained about the heavy debt arising from various mega infrastructure projects, enumerating the disadvantage in every situation. The rush to join the AIIB by western countries despite the possibility of appearing to disappoint the US – largely seen as the big brother of the West – clearly demonstrates that it’s time to wake up.
It is believed that only when much needed infrastructure is complete, can the economic and social development programs progress in a fast manner. In the context of Vision 2030, Kenya is deemed to develop its mega infrastructure project as priority so as to provide guarantee for the social and economic take-off. We will have our Standard Gauge Railway in the near future, we should expect more.