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African nations to benefit from AIIB membership: Expert



African countries would benefit a lot from membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an Ethiopian scholar has said.

Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, told Xinhua on Saturday that other African countries would soon follow the footsteps of South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia in joining the AIIB.

“It is a good opportunity for the countries’ infrastructure development,” he said.

According to information posted on the AIIB’s website, Egypt and Ethiopia are “non-reginal members” in the multinational financial institution, and South Africa a “prospective founding member.”

Other prospective members from Africa are Madagascar and Sudan. Prospective members will officially join the AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank.

“African countries would benefit from all commitments made by signatories of the AIIB agreements in trade negotiations. The multilateral system is particularly important for small countries,” he said. “Their impact on terms of trade may be enhanced if terms are negotiated on a multilateral level.”

Ethiopia was approved by the AIIB as a new prospective member in March 2017.

As members of the China-initiated multilateral financial institution, Ethiopia and other African countries are able to access loan and other capacity-building assistance to infrastructure projects, said Costantinos, who is also a professor of public policy at Addis Ababa University.

According to Costantinos, infrastructure development, urban development and housing, manufacturing, agricultural development, and human development are some of the areas that African countries would benefit as AIIB members.