AIIB appointments based on qualification, funding (Global Times, Englisch)

13.02.2016

Editor's note:

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced its closely watched appointment of five vice presidents on February 5, with Germany's Joachim von Amsberg being named as the vice president of policy and strategy. The question of whether the top posts were distributed among the AIIB's founding members fairly has attracted a lot of attention in the world, with some Western media reports suggesting that Germany has fared better than other countries in the initial distribution of jobs at the AIIB.

In interviews with the Global Times, Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China, and Zhou Qiangwu, the chief executive of the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center, a think tank under China's Ministry of Finance, offered their views on the issue.

Michael Clauss

What role will Vice-President von Amsberg play in the new bank?

My expectations are that the future vice president will help the AIIB to adhere to the highest standards regarding governance and safeguards.

Second, I expect that we will strive to deepen cooperation with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

I am pleased that German officials will play an important role in the AIIB. Besides Vice President von Amsberg being in charge of policy and strategy, Germany will be represented by a national executive director, who will also speak on behalf of all eurozone member states in the AIIB. von Amsberg's rich experience at the World Bank will be of great help to the AIIB, especially in its initial stage of development.

AIIB President Jin Liqun chose experts in the field of finance and banking to take up key posts in the governing bodies and the management of the AIIB.

The AIIB will give top priority to funding infrastructure projects in Asia but I would expect to see projects in other parts of the world, including Europe, at a later stage.

The new bank was indeed proposed by China but this doesn't mean that the AIIB is a Chinese bank.

China is the biggest shareholder and will therefore play a leading role in the AIIB.

However, if we had had doubts about the AIIB, we would not have joined the bank as a founding member and applied for positions in its governance bodies.

Germany announced its intention to join the AIIB last March. Some other countries like the US have so far chosen not to join the bank. I do not expect the AIIB to become a contentious issue between Berlin and Washington.

Zhou Qiangwu

The AIIB's selection process for its senior management including vice presidents was mainly driven by two key factors. One is individual qualification, and the other capital contribution.

Individual qualification is the first and foremost consideration. The AIIB strives to appoint the most qualified individuals to its top posts. Candidates need to meet all of the professional criteria set by the AIIB, and experience in infrastructure investment and operation of multilateral institutions is considered as an advantage.

The AIIB has promised to identify and select candidates for senior management positions in an open, transparent and merit-based manner and this principle will always be adhered to.

The selection process for senior posts will not be closely related to the founding members' influence on the bank and their voting power.

Member countries' voting power at the AIIB is the sum of their Basic Votes, Share Votes and Founding Member Votes.

Clearly, vice presidents will work for the AIIB rather than their home countries.

You cannot evaluate Germany's influence on the World Bank by counting the number of German nationals working for the institution, and the same logic applies to the AIIB.

However, capital contribution should always be an important consideration for multilateral institutions when allocating senior level posts to member countries and the AIIB will do the same so as to meet expectations.

Capital contributions in the AIIB are mainly determined by the size of a member country's GDP, so it is normal to see that the major contributors have a presence in the bank's senior management positions.

Based on its GDP weight in the AIIB, Germany has become the bank's fourth-largest shareholder after China, India and Russia.

It is quite natural for German nationals to take up a senior post at the bank because the country is contributing more capital than other European countries like Britain, even though the latter was the first major Western country to seek to join the AIIB.

© German Embassy