The AIIB is the newest member in the family of multilateral development banks. The Beijing-based institution launched operations in January 2016. Italy is one of 57 countries (including many other EU member states) that joined as founding members. During the process of setting up the bank, Italy and other advanced economies pushed successfully to ensure that its Articles of Agreement are fully consistent with established international standards.
The AIIB's objective is to help reduce what international experts such as the Asian Development Bank consider to be a significant shortfall in infrastructure financing in Asia. Doing this would boost sustainable economic development in the region and foster greater convergence in environmental, social and living standards in the countries where the bank operates. In keeping with this strategy, 85% of the contributions that shareholders make to the bank count as Official Development Assistance (ODA). Investments by the AIIB place a priority on the following sectors: energy, transport, urban development, and water, especially in the region's less-developed countries. Despite dynamic growth in recent decades, the Asia region as a whole is still home to a number of countries where annual GDP per capita remains below US$2,000. At the same time, the bank aims to intensify regional cooperation by working together closely with existing bilateral and multilateral development institutions.