The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a Chinese-led initiative to spur development in the region, on Thursday announced it had expanded its membership by 13 countries and regions to a total of 70 members.
The new members are Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Hungary, Peru, Venezuela, Sudan and Ethiopia, and in Asia – Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji and Timor Leste.
AIIB, which was launched in January 2016, is seen as a challenge to the US-dominated International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the Japanese-dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB).
"I am very proud that AIIB now has members from almost every continent, and we anticipate further applications being considered by our board of governors later this year," AIIB President Jin Liqun said.
The 13 new members need to complete a series of processes and deposit their first instalment of capital with the bank.
AIIB, which began with authorized capital of 100 billion dollars – about half the capital of the World Bank – will finance rail, road, electricity and other infrastructure projects in underdeveloped parts of Asia.
It is meant to bolster an initiative championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping to create a trade and infrastructure network to better connect China with Europe, South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.