Business / Economy

Russian experts see economic, strategic benefits from AIIB membership

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-16 11:33

MOSCOW - As Russia is trying to find its way out of the current economic hardship amid Western sanctions, the country will benefit both economically and strategically from joining the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Russian experts have said.

The prospective founding members of the AIIB finalized at 57 Wednesday, covering five continents, including Asia, Oceania, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Russia, as one of the prospective founding members, needs the bank from both strategic and practical perspectives, Petr Mozias, an economist from the National Research University's High School of Economics, told Xinhua.

"Russia is interested in attracting more resources for its infrastructure projects. As Russia's budget has been shrinking, it needs to sustain economic growth and to create new sources for that," Mozias said.

He said Russia will benefit from its participation in the AIIB as the bank can offer the country more opportunities in attracting resources for infrastructure projects.

"Strategically, economic development is impossible without long-term investments. Russia, as the world's largest country, craves for investments into infrastructure. Also, geopolitically, Russia and China share common borders, so the two countries can develop joint infrastructural cross-border projects as well as in Central Asia," the expert added.

Svetlana Krivoruchko, head of the Center for Monetary Policy, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, believed that this is true not only for Russia, but also for many of the Western European countries.

"If we take a look at the economic indicators of the Western European countries, we will notice they are not that good," Krivoruchko said.

The expert noted that as European countries, which need new channels for growth and new sources for development, understand that they cannot find those opportunities in their own land, they are interested in other regions that are full of vitality.

"That's why the Old West as we call them -- the UK, Germany, France and Italy -- were the first ones to support the idea of the bank," he said.

While admitting that the AIIB may face jealousy from other global and regional financial institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mozias did not think that the AIIB is a bitter rival for them.

"The AIIB leadership has said the bank will be 'lean, clean and green,' and that it is not going to compete with the ADB but to fill the different niche," he said.

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