AIIB highlights green, social infrastructure in post-pandemic recovery

BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has highlighted green and social infrastructure which will shape Asia’s post-COVID-19 recovery.

“Post-crisis recovery programs should not be carbon-dependent, which presents policymakers with an opportunity to align public policies more closely with climate objectives,” the bank, which began operations in January 2016, said Wednesday on its website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the world to probe the linkage of the virus and other diseases with future eco-catastrophes. “This necessitates ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards in all business activities. ESG is the next growth frontier in asset management,” according to the Beijing-headquartered bank.

Meanwhile, one of the weak links on the global production chain that COVID-19 exposed is social infrastructure, which has suffered from chronic underinvestment in many countries at various income levels. According to estimates from the Global Infrastructure Hub, transactions in social infrastructure fell from 19 billion U.S. dollars to less than 3 billion dollars in 2019.

“Given the limited public spending in social infrastructure and the challenges of a post-COVID-19 recovery, catalyzing private capital flows into public investment takes on more relevance and is absolutely necessary,” AIIB said.

The bank said its next chapter includes expanding into social infrastructure and ramping up its investments in digital infrastructure as a timely response to the medium- to long-term needs of its clients in the post-COVID-19 era.

“As always, trend-savvy investors in infrastructure financing will need to remain flexible to navigate the turbulent times ahead if they wish to stay the course,” said AIIB President and Chair of the Board Jin Liqun. “Our ultimate goal is to contribute to economic growth and social progress that is inclusive and sustainable.”

Green and social infrastructure are part of five emerging trends in infrastructure the bank identifies as important in preparing economies for the post-pandemic future. The other three fields are asset recycling or privatization, technology-enabled infrastructure, as well as connectivity infrastructure.

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