A new NUPI report that maps China’s role within the World Bank, all the major regional development banks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), shows a clear trend: China is changing, strengthening and expanding its engagements.

- This an area within international politics and development cooperation that China prioritizes. China is strategic and promotes its interests, but is here also largely regarded a constructive partner, says Hans Jørgen Gåsemyr, senior researcher at NUPI and UiB.

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It is noticeable, that at a time when Chinese investments and trade patterns are triggering more debate and critical scrutiny, especially in relations to USA, China is strengthening its positions in many multilateral institutions.

Major power and developing country

The report highlights how China is working to combine its identities as both a major power and a developing country still in need of international development finance. Several multilateral development banks are stretching their lending regulations to accommodate China and other middle-income countries.

At the same time, China strengthens its contributions and joins more regional banks. Importantly, China also initiates new multilateral banks headquartered in China, among which the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has attracted the most attention.

Many Norwegian and Chinese interests meet

- Norway traditionally champions development banks, the IMF and multilateral institutions more generally. Here many Norwegian and Chinese interests meet, although the circumstances around our countries’ initiatives are often very different, says Gåsemyr.

The researcher pinpoints how the multilateral banks and the IMF are not only financing tools, but also promote the use of international standards. Such standards make it easier for international actors to invest in projects that, under other circumstances, easily turn controversial, which is often the case for infrastructure projects within China’s colossal Belt and road initiative.

The complete report is found here.