ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will benefit many countries in the region, including India, said Jin Liqun, President-designate of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during his visit to Islamabad as head of the Beijing-based bank, Liqun said the CPEC would not only contribute to development of China and Pakistan, but other nations in the region can also benefit from it. He expressed the hope that New Delhi would support the idea.

Dar said that Pakistan would share the directorship of the AIIB with Turkey for three years, out of 10 years.

The bank plans to start operations by the middle of next year, and it may send its mission to Islamabad to consider project-financing.

Liqun said that a team of experts from the AIIB would visit Islamabad soon to meet Pakistani officials and ascertain ideas for possible projects and areas where the AIIB could provide funding.

He said that the strength of macroeconomic fundamentals and preparedness of the projects would determine its financing flows to any country.

The finance minister said that he had a detailed discussion with the deputy prime minister of Turkey a couple of weeks ago and both sides had reached a written understanding under which Turkey would hold the post of executive director for seven years and Pakistan for three years.

Pakistan and Turkey had decided in the initial days of AIIB consultations to be part of one constituency that also includes Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan while Iran and Brunei have now shown interest to be part of this constituency.

Liqun appreciated the economic gains made by Pakistan in the last two years and said that global institutions had acknowledged the progress made by Pakistan in the last two years, including tripling of foreign exchange reserves.

He particularly lauded Pakistan’s launch of Eurobond last month, and said that it was not an easy task to convince the international rating agencies to improve a country’s rating, and the credit goes to Pakistan’s economic managers that they have been able to upgrade their rating in a relatively short time.

He said the AIIB was currently working out its financing programme and would come up with its first batch of projects in the second quarter of 2016.

He expressed the hope that Pakistan would prominently figure in the programme.

Dar said that Pakistan was currently focusing on improving infrastructure in the country and would look forward to an early start of financing activities by the AIIB.

Mr Liqun said his institution was looking to finance infrastructure development projects, including energy, transport, urban development, water supply, solid waste disposal sectors.

He added that the AIIB would like to make use of expertise of Pakistani professionals.

He said the new bank would create counter-balance among client countries in terms of potential borrowing and finance most feasible projects on priority.

Dar said the AIIB, in collaboration with International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank, could be part of a consortium for development of Diamer-Bhasha dam.

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