LUXEMBOURG, July 12 (KUNA) -- The 2019 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Annual Meeting kicked off in Luxembourg Friday with a commitment to strengthen multilateralism for sustainable growth and calls for closer banking cooperation between Asia and Europe.
In his inaugural speech, AIIB President Jin Liqun, highlighted the importance of partnership and collaboration with European countries, including Luxembourg, saying it can play a pivotal role in raising private capital to invest in green, transformative infrastructure.
Speaking in the presence of Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Luxembourg Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Board of Governors for the 2019 Annual Meeting, Pierre Gramegna, pledged that the AIIB will become "the Bank that connects Asia to the world.
"A well-coordinated investment program in infrastructure and other productive sectors in low-income countries will boost growth, will create jobs and reduce poverty," Liqun said.
"This will then drive a higher level of development where governments can afford more investment in education and health, ultimately realizing long-term economic and social achievement," he noted.
In his keynote speech, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna underlined that the country's membership in the AIIB "is a testament to Luxembourg's long lasting commitment to multilateralism."
He noted that 100 nations have come together in Luxembourg for the conference to discuss ways to promote sustainable development.
"Multilateral frameworks have proven to be more democratic, inclusive and strong even if they face difficulties. Only multilateralism and international cooperation can ensure reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and tackle the challenge of climate change," stressed Gramegna.
Holding the meeting in Luxembourg, a leading financial center with the second largest investment fund center worldwide, "will help creating synergies in mobilizing financial resources of governments, international institutions and the private sector to achieve better connectivity between Europe and Asia," said Gramegna.
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg in his speech acknowledged the role of multilaterals like AIIB in addressing global challenges.
"In times of uncertainties, international finance institutions such as AIIB are key, especially during times of climate change and when human lives are under threat around the world," said the Grand Duke.
The finance minister of Egypt Mohammad Mait who holds AIIB governorship from outside Asia said that Egypt is a founding member of the AIIB and the first member in Africa to join the bank to contribute to sustainable development.
"Egypt firmly believes in the bank's mission and mandate of contributing to sustainable transformation of Asia and the rest world through enhancing cross-border connectivity, he stressed.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he was faced with a difficult decision: To join or not to join AIIB.
"It was not the easiest of decisions," he said.
Finance Minister Naif Falah Al-Hajraf is leading Kuwait's delegation to the two-day international conference.
On Friday and Saturday, Luxembourg is hosting AIIB's first Annual Meeting outside of Asia.
The theme of the two-day meeting is "Cooperation and Connectivity" in recognition of the economic and social benefits to be realized through better connectivity within and between countries and regions, including Europe and Asia.
The 2019 Annual Meeting brings together AIIB's Governors and Directors to engage with delegations from members, prospective members, partner institutions, business leaders, civil society and experts from a range of fields.
Headquartered in Beijing, AIIB began operations in 2016 and has now grown to 93 approved members worldwide. (end)