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ADB Says Will Facilitate South-South Cooperation

A recent ADB study says Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments through 2030
Takehiko Nakao says ADB will continue to prioritize the needs of the poorest and the most fragile countries, including small island countries in the Pacific.Takehiko Nakao says ADB will continue to prioritize the needs of the poorest and the most fragile countries, including small island countries in the Pacific.

President of the Asian Development Bank Takehito Nakao Sunday said that the bank would continue to “deepen our own regional economic cooperation initiatives” and coordinate closely with other existing and emerging regional cooperation platforms.

Addressing a press conference marking the conclusion of the ADB’s 50th annual summit in Yokohama, Japan, he said: “We will continue to facilitate South-South cooperation that supports knowledge transfer and expertise among developing member countries,” news outlets reported.

While progress in Asia has been impressive, the battle against poverty is not over yet as reminded by the participants, he said and added “reducing poverty will remain our major focus.”

He said ADB will continue to prioritize the needs of the poorest and the most fragile countries, including small island countries in the Pacific. Growing inequalities are a major concern for many countries, he added.

“We will enhance our support for addressing inequality across groups and regions. Strengthening financial inclusion and supporting inclusive business will be integral components of our approach to deepen inclusiveness,” he commented.

He said ADB will continue to play a key role in mobilizing the vast resources needed for infrastructure development in the region. According to a recent ADB study, Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments through 2030, APP reported.

He said “We will scale up to help meet this large infrastructure deficit, increasingly use high-level technology in infrastructure, vigorously pursue our commitment to climate finance, and actively promote public-private partnerships.”

Active Support  

The president said he would like to note that in a way ADB was created to mobilize private sector resources by "leveraging our equity" to tap capital markets. The merger of Asian Development Fund lending operations and Ordinary Capital Resources balance sheet allows us to further leverage these resources, he added.

“We are on track towards meeting our ambitious financing target of $6 billion for climate change by 2020. We continue to pay special attention to the challenges facing Pacific island countries, particularly in adaptation,” he expressed.

“We are actively supporting our developing member countries’ access to concessional resources, including from the Green Climate Fund. We are providing policy advice and capacity building support to our client countries for their nationally determined contributions. We will increase our support to prevent and reduce risks from natural disasters,” he observed.

Nakao said, “We will increase support for universal health coverage, technical and vocational education and training, and social protection.”

The ADB president also said achieving gender equality remains a key agenda in many of developing member countries. “We have strengthened gender mainstreaming in our projects. We will continue to proactively pursue gender equality outcomes across all our operations.”

Creating Hubs

ADB has operationally started working to create several regional hubs including New Delhi as one for South Asia, Nakao said. “We are now trying to make several places including Delhi a kind of hub for the region, not only that country but the region, several like Delhi for South Asian countries and Kazakhstan for Central Asia,” Nakao said, PTI reported.

“We have already starting out-posting people, staff for private sector operations and also for procurement. We have already started working on the idea of a hub but we have not announced this is a hub but we are out-posting more people.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, India’s governor to the ADB, had earlier urged the multilateral lender to establish a hub in New Delhi, so that it could expedite lending to development projects across the region. He also insisted that the bank should fund projects other than those in the infrastructure space, especially health and education.

In addition to sectors like energy, urban development and transportation, the minister asked the bank to focus more on affordable renewable energy. In the area of urban development, especially in the sector of drinking water and sanitation, he cited user charges and financial sustainability of urban bodies as the major challenges.

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