“Asia will need $1700bn per year in investments in power, transport, telecommunications and water through 2030.

This is more than double our previous estimate,” Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Takehiko Nakao told the 50th Annual Meeting of ADB’s board of governors last week.

And yet, as Mr Nakao reported, while ADB’s total operations last year achieved record levels, they only reached $31.7bn: a drop in the ocean relative to the region’s financing needs.

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Stepping into this financing gap over the past year or so has been China’s motivation to create the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

This new bank’s lending may be only slowly getting off the ground, but it already has more members than the ADB, and its authorised lending limit is also higher than the ADB’s. The new competition from the AIIB has seen the ADB streamline its lending procedures and rush to approve new lending.

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