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Top officials: Boost B&R finance links

By Zhong Nan in Dalian | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-29 07:25

IMF to set up ability training centers in economies involved in the initiative

Leading officials from international financial institutions-including the IMF-on Wednesday urged governments and companies to speed up their financial connectivity and forge closer links with the private sector, to participate in Belt and Road infrastructure projects.

Zhang Tao, deputy managing director of International Monetary Fund, said at the World Economic Forum in Dalian that measures including cross-border payments and mobile banking products, as well as relaxing financing supply restrictions, would encourage financial institutions to provide more support to the real economy in markets connected with the initiative.

"Modern technologies can provide relatively cheap methods to low-income householders to use basic financial products for people who don't have access to banks," he said.

Zhang said the IMF will establish a new ability training center in Singapore and other economies involved in the initiative soon, after setting one up in Dalian last month, partnered with the People's Bank of China.

To avoid risks in regions that have limited access to big-ticket infrastructure project financing, Zhang said international investors should invest in countries with stable financial markets to ensure sufficient capital inflows, as well as nations with flexible policies in managing their currency and foreign reserves.

Danny Alexander, vice-president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said public-private partnership was another path to financing the Belt and Road Initiative and the bank would help related parties to spread PPPs in Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Although the business operations of the AIIB-formed in January last year-are nascent, it has already worked with private sectors to develop infrastructure project in markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative.

It signed a funding agreement with a major Indian private equity fund earlier this month. The deal will bring more private capital to infrastructure projects in Asia.

In the meantime, AIIB granted two loans and one equity investment totaling $324 million to support infrastructure projects in India, Georgia and Tajikistan. These approvals include the bank's first equity investment for $150 million, which will help to attract much-needed private investment capital for infrastructure projects in India.

AIIB announced earlier this month that it has approved three applications-including Argentina, and Madagascar-to join the bank, bringing the bank's total approved membership to 80.

Ann Sim, Singapore's senior minister of state, said for her country, the Belt and Road Initiative will create new export opportunities to third party markets through its joint projects in China.

She said the joint Suzhou industrial park and Tianjin eco-city were demonstrations of support, followed by a third connectivity project in Chongqing between the two countries.

Chongqing launched the connectivity project earlier last year, aiming to build Guoyuan Port of Chongqing into a demonstration base for China-Singapore multi-modal transport.

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