Government & Military

Jin Liqun

Leader of the world’s next big development fund.

President, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Jin first earned his chops at the U.S.-based World Bank, where he worked for more than a decade, and then as vice president of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank. Now he leads China’s closely watched answer to the U.S.-led World Bank, which is known to place what some see as overly strict conditions on the development projects it funds. Asia is facing an $8 trillion infrastructure development gap within the next decade; China has explained that’s why the region needs another funder. But the United States, which enjoys an outsized voice in World Bank governance, effectively urged other nations not to join. Nevertheless, one by one, U.S. allies from Britain to South Korea to Canada signed up for the China-led initiative. And it was Jin, a lover of English literature, who reportedly enticed those countries to break with the United States, leaving the Americans on the outside looking in.

By all appearance, the new bank is getting off to a strong start. In June, the bank approved its first four (co-financed) loans, a total of $509 million for transport, power, and urban projects in Tajikistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. In January, Chinese officials said 25 more countries are set to join within the year. Jin has argued the AIIB can be a “platform” for U.S.-China relations, rather than a wedge.

(Photo credit: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

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