ADB Oks 1st co-financing with China's AIIB for Pakistan road

MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank announced Friday its approval of a $100 million loan for a highway project in Pakistan, marking its first co-financing with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

AIIB will provide a $100 million counterpart loan subject to its board’s approval later this month while the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development is extending a $34 million grant, ADB said. The Manila-based lender will serve as lead financier and administrator for the AIIB loan and DFID grant.

AIIB has been viewed by some as a rival to the U.S.-led World Bank and the Japan-led ADB, with suspicions China could use it to advance its influence and agenda.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao said the project will fund the remaining 64-kilometre (40-mile), four-lane section of a highway connecting the towns of Shorkot and Khanewal in Punjab province. It has strategic value to Pakistan as it supports north-south connectivity, boosts businesses and jobs, and will help cut poverty, he said.

“This is a historic milestone for ADB and AIIB as we jointly aim to meet the pressing infrastructure needs in Asia and the Pacific region,” Nakao said.

The two development banks have been preparing projects for co-financing since last year and signed a memorandum of understanding for collaboration in May.