The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank said yesterday that its board of governors has adopted resolutions approving 13 applicants to join the bank, bringing the bank’s total approved membership to 70. This is the first time the multilateral development bank has welcomed new prospective members since its inception.

The approved applicants are five regional prospective members — Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji, Hong Kong and Timor Leste — and eight non-regional prospective members — Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Ireland, Peru, Sudan and Venezuela. “The interest in joining AIIB from around the world affirms the rapid progress we have made to establish the bank as an international institution,” said Jin Liqun, president of AIIB. “I am very proud that AIIB now has members from almost every continent, and we anticipate further applications being considered by our board of governors later this year,” he said.

The 13 prospective members will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the US$100 billion bank. The shares allocated to the new prospective members come from the bank’s existing pool of unallocated shares, according to AIIB.

With 57 signatories at its establishment in 2015, AIIB aims to provide financing to address the daunting infrastructure needs across Asia. In June, the Beijing-based AIIB approved its first four loans, which totaled over half a billion dollars and were financed jointly with the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The loans went to projects in Pakistan, Indonesia, Tajikistan and Bangladesh.