SHANGHAI -- Representatives from 57 countries have attended a signing ceremony in Beijing for the founding of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The institution, designed to promote regional development, has been seen as a significant foreign policy success for China, which proposed the idea.
It has also become something of an embarrassment for the U.S., which announced early on that it would not be joining, only to discover that many of its allies had no such qualms.
Australia was the first country to sign the agreement at a ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
The other 49 countries that signed up -- seven others are still waiting for approval from their domestic legislatures -- included Germany, the U.K. and South Korea.
China has said the bank, which will be based in Beijing and is expected to start work by the end of this year, will play a major role in speeding up development, in a region where some $8 trillion in investment is expected to be required in the next five years alone.
It is seen as providing an alternative to U.S.-dominated institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which some in Asia consider slow to respond to the needs of the region -- and as imposing too many conditions on development....
China’s voting share in the bank’s decision-making process will be just over 26 percent -- more than the quarter of votes needed to veto projects -- followed by India and Russia, with 7.5 percent and just under 6 percent respectively.
Reuters said Germany would be the fourth biggest shareholder, with a 4 percent stake.