ADB, China-backed AIIB to co-finance more projects this year

MANILA, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is exploring to co-finance more projects this year with the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the ADB said on Friday.

ADB and the China-backed development bank have a “very large pipeline” of projects they could fund together, which includes roads, clean energy as well as private-sector undertakings, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said. He did not give any figure.

Nakao said the vast need of infrastructure finance in Asia meant the ADB and the AIIB could cooperate and complement each other, instead of considering each other as rivals.

“We have been cooperating well,” Nakao told foreign journalists on Friday, adding ADB and AIIB have had “serious discussions on how to do things better.”

ADB officials are expected to travel to Beijing to meet with its counterparts at the AIIB, Nakao said. ADB has yet to set a date for the meeting.

ADB officials have long dispelled the view that Japan and China are competing for influence through development finance.

The Manila-based lender and AIIB have so far co-financed four infrastructure projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Georgia and India, with total loans amounting to more than $700 million.

The ADB was established as a Japanese initiative in 1966 to offer development assistance in Asia. All of the ADB heads up until now have been Japanese, including Nakao.

Beijing-based AIIB, formed in January 2016, is viewed by some as a challenger to both the Western-dominated World Bank and the ADB, which is primarily funded by Japan and the United States. It aims to provide infrastructure financing in the Asia-Pacific region. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)