Beijing development bank role for Alexander

Danny Alexander

Former UK Treasury minister Danny Alexander has been confirmed as one of the five vice presidents of the new Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The new development bank is viewed by many as China’s answer to the Washington-based World Bank and IMF.

Alexander (pictured) is the Scottish Liberal Democrat who lost his Westminster seat of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey to the SNP by more than 10,000 votes last May.

On Friday, the AIIB confirmed speculation by saying Alexander would become its vice president and corporate secretary.

“The primary responsibility of the corporate secretary is to manage communications between and among the bank’s management, the board of directors and the board of governors,” said the AIIB.

“The position embraces several roles — trusted advisor, communications and liaison officer, and overall governance professional who is committed to advising on the best interests of the bank.”

Citing his credentials, the AIIB said Alexander, as chief secretary to the UK Treasury, “secured more than £100 billion of public expenditure savings.”

“He has played an active role in driving international cooperation on tax, trade and transparency during the UK G8 presidency,” said the AIIB.

“A seasoned negotiator and communicator, Sir Danny has engaged with diverse stakeholders and partners on key public policies.

“He led the work on UK infrastructure policy and delivery, leading to the first National Infrastructure Plan which is now embedded as an annual process.

“He helped to establish the Green Investment Bank in the UK and to develop and implement the UK Guarantee Scheme for infrastructure.”

The AIIB’s structure is expected to be similar to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

China is expected have more than 30% of shares in the AIIB, and India will be the second-biggest shareholder with about 11%.

The AIIB is expected to lend between $10 billion and $15 billion a year in its first few years.

The AIIB says it “will focus on the development of infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia, including energy and power, transportation and telecommunications, rural infrastructure and agriculture development, water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development and logistics.”

UK finance minister George Osborne said: “I worked very closely with Danny over the last 5 years. I know him to be a person of real intelligence and integrity and from his record as chief secretary to the Treasury — where he helped turn around the UK public finances and oversaw the coalition’s infrastructure programme — will bring a huge amount of experience that will be a huge asset in setting up this important international body.

“Danny’s appointment, together with the UK’s position on the AIIB board of directors, demonstrates that the UK is playing a crucial role as the AIIB is formally established. Britain’s influence is being felt across the world.”

Alexander said: “I look forward to using my experience and skills, including as chief secretary to the Treasury during one of the most challenging recent times for the UK economy, to help ensure the AIIB succeeds.

“I will relish the challenge of being part of this new institution as it establishes itself as a crucial part of the multilateral landscape, supporting growth, tackling climate change, and helping drive up living standards in Asia.”