Asia-Pacific to emerge from pandemic ‘stronger than before’: ADB chief

Staff Correspondent

6 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The Asia and the Pacific region can emerge from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic ‘even stronger than before’ to help achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa said.

Masatsugu Asakawa made the remarks at the 54th annual meeting of the ADB board of governors on Wednesday, according to ADB press release.

 “I believe the path we have laid out will help lead our region out of these uncertain times,” said the ADB President.

 “We will continue to deliver ADB’s unique synergy of finance, knowledge, and partnerships. And we will prioritize the quality of our assistance over quantity, meeting near-term needs with a clear vision for the future. If we stay on this course, I am confident the region will emerge from the current crisis even stronger than before,” added the President.

ADB President opined for deepening regional cooperation and integration, so that ADB developing member countries can seize the opportunities of renewed globalization and strengthen regional health security.

Action on these priorities can build on ADB’s response to COVID-19 in 2020. Its total commitments in 2020 reached a record high of $31.6 billion, with just over half supporting operations to respond to the pandemic.

The balance was committed to address long-term development issues such as the gender equality gap, the impacts of climate change, and investments in quality infrastructure. These achievements were supported by record-high co-financing of $16.4 billion and record-high capital market borrowings of over $35 billion.

 “During the height of the pandemic, I reassured my staff that we will someday look back with pride at what we accomplished for the people of the region. I believe more than ever that this is true,” said the ADB president.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

At the Board of Governors meeting, ADB approved the bank’s annual financial statements and also adopted a resolution to allocate $1.13 billion in net allocable income from 2020 ordinary capital resources, the highest in ADB’s history. 

The 2020 net allocable income is $62.5 million higher than in 2019, largely led by an increase in income from equity investments and sovereign lending operations. 

ADB’s ordinary reserve will be allocated $734.3 million to support the bank’s capital adequacy and provide an earnings base to generate net income. The Asian Development Fund, which provides grants to ADB’s low-income developing member countries (DMCs), will receive $292.4 million.

The Technical Assistance Special Fund, which provides a stable and predictable funding source for ADB’s technical assistance, will receive $90 million. 

The Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which provides assistance to DMCs for life-saving purposes in the immediate aftermath of major disasters triggered by natural hazards, will receive $15 million.