The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is to expand its reach by adding new member states from Africa and Latin America.

At the AIIB’s first annual meeting in Beijing this week the bank announced that membership applications were pending from 24 nations, including Algeria, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Venezuela.

These will be in addition to the current 57 founder countries which include the UK, Australia and Germany. Brazil is the only current member state from South America, while Egypt and South Africa are the only African nations to have joined from the outset.

China, the leading financial backer and shareholder of the AIIB, already has significant business interests in many of the applicant states, having hoovered up assets in Greece and striking up strong trading relationships, based on energy purchases and infrastructure investment, with the likes of Nigeria and Venezuela.

Speaking at the annual meeting, chairman Jin Liqun (pictured) hailed the development bank’s first six months as a period of great success.

He said: “The bank is off to a very strong start. The past months have been fast-paced and productive. In just six months with the guidance and support of our boards, we have put the fundamentals of a large, modern multilateral financial institution in place, and have made significant progress towards the goals set by our shareholders.”

The AIIB also used the occasion to confirm the details of its first four loans, some of which had previous been announced by co-financiers.

The transactions are:

  • a US$165mn loan for a power distribution system upgrade and expansion project in Bangladesh;
  • a US$216.5mn loan for a slum upgrading project in Indonesia, expected to be co-financed with the World Bank;
  • a US$100mn loan to finance the Shorkot-Khanewal Section of national motorway M-4 in Pakistan, co-financed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID); and
  • a US$27.5mn loan for the Dushanbe-Uzbekistan border road improvement project in Tajikistan, co-financed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

More activity is expected imminently, with India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley saying that the country is seeking up to US$3bn in funding for a basket of urban development and energy projects.

Speaking at the AGM, he said: “AIIB presents a much needed additional financing window dedicated to infrastructure projects and meeting the financing gap that may be beyond the capacity of the individual countries and the existing multilateral development banks.”

Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, is also expected to accede to member status of the AIIB in the coming months. The city is expected to play an important role in the multilateral bank’s transaction documentation. It will also be key in China’s efforts to internationalise the renminbi through AIIB lending.