This map shows why the Chinese-led Asian development bank matters

Jessica Morris
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The Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has grabbed a whole host of headlines recently.

It's nothing new. The plan for a new multilateral development lender has been in the pipeline for 18 months. But the fact that it's received backing from the likes of Britain, France and Italy has ruffled a few feathers.

Former US treasury secretary Larry Summers wrote "this past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system," in a column for the Financial Times.

He blamed competing pressures from the left and right which has created a dysfunctional political landscape. This has meant the United States is alone in failing to approve governance reforms to the International Monetary Fund, and has receded on commitments to projects financed through existing development banks. Summers said all of this has cleared the way for the AIIB.

Whether the United States continues to command soft power from its dominance of institutions such as the World Bank is one thing. But the map below shows that economic power - a source of hard power which tends to underpin soft power - has been staging a sharp shift towards Asia since 2000, and this trend is set to continue.

(Source: Mckinsey)

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