ADB lending and grant operations hit $ 21.6b | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

ADB lending and grant operations hit $ 21.6b

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) new lending and grant operations in 2018 grew to a record $21.6 billion, an increase of nearly 10% from the $19.7 billion in the previous year, ADB President, Takehiko Nakao told the opening session of the Board of Governors at the 52nd ADB Annual Meeting in Fiji on Friday.

Compared to $13.9 billion in 2013 this is an increase of 55%. Such an expansion became possible due to the much larger equity from the successful merger of the ordinary capital resources balance sheet and Asian Development Fund (ADF) concessional lending operations in 2017, he said.

Responding to the changing needs of Asia and the Pacific will be at the centre of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) actions to implement Strategy 2030, he said.

Nakao highlighted six areas that the ADB considers essential to the strategy’s success.

First, he said a key priority for ADB will be to continue addressing poverty and reducing inequalities across Asia and the Pacific.

“We will strengthen our support to the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the region, including those in fragile and conflict-affected situations and many small island developing states,” Nakao said. The ADB is supporting this year’s G20 initiative of universal health coverage.

Second, the ADB is accelerating progress in gender equality and will develop a strong pipeline of projects that integrate gender equality designs into a range of operations, including transport, energy and urban infrastructure.

Third, climate mitigation and adaptation efforts across the Pacific will be an important focus for the ADB. Countries most vulnerable to climate change, including the Pacific, will receive a wide range of ADB assistance.

Nakao focussed attention on the ADB’s increase in disaster contingent financing in the Pacific, thereby allowing countries to access financial resources immediately in the wake of a disaster, based on predetermined criteria.

Fourth is ADB’s continued support for regional cooperation and integration. Building on ADB-led subregional cooperation platforms, the ADB will further enhance regional connectivity, promote regional public goods, help strengthen cooperation in the financial sector and macro-prudential policies, and encourage knowledge sharing.

Fifth, Nakao said the ADB will continue to expand its private sector lending, equity investments, and guarantees to reach one-third of the total operations by 2024.

This will bring the ADB into new markets and broaden its business reach to education, health, and agribusiness.