China may invest $8 bln for SCO development bank

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China may contribute $8 billion to establish Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Development Bank, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday.

The proposed fund to establish the bank could be as large as $10 billion. China would be the main investor, and the remainder may come from other SOC members like Russia, according to the report.

The SOC is an intergovernmental organization founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Besides Uzbekistan, all of the other countries were members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996. The members renamed the organization after Uzbekistan joined in 2001.

In the organizsation's 9th prime ministers' meeting, which was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan this November, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proposed further financial cooperation among the members and the founding of a bank to explore new ways of common benefits.

According to report, one expert said the main purpose for establishing the development bank is to promote multilateral economic cooperation within the SCO framework. So far, the members' multilateral cooperation is only restricted to the field of transportation, but most of the economic cooperation is bilateral.

The SCO Development Bank will be established with reference to the framework of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. China will have more say in the bank's activities if the power is dependent on investment proportion, the report said, citing Wang Haiyun, senior consultant with China International Institute for Strategic Society.

However, the bank is still just a proposal, and officials are unclear when it will actually open. And though central Asian members have responded well to the plan, the report describes Russian officials as less than enthusiastic.

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