MANILA, PHILIPPINES: The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) operations—comprising approvals of loans and grants, technical assistance, and cofinancing—reached an all-time high of $ 27.15 billion in 2015, an increase of about 19% over the $22.89 billion in 2014, according to provisional figures released yesterday.
ADB’s approvals of loans and grants, sovereign (governments) and nonsovereign (primarily private sector), reached a record $16.58 billion—a 23% increase from 2014. Technical assistance amounted to $144 million and cofinancing increased by 13% to a record $10.43 billion in 2015.
Out of the $16.58 billion, sovereign loan and grant approvals increased by 21% to $13.95 billion in 2015.
Nonsovereign approvals made a big leap from $1.92 billion in 2014 to $2.63 billion in 2015. In addition to a volume increase, ADB increased its allocation to the poorest countries to 40% of nonsovereign approvals. To expedite small nonsovereign transactions, ADB introduced a fast-track approval process. ADB is now making active use of local currency lending to the private sector and increased bond issuances in local currencies to support the lending.
Unless loans and grants are disbursed, they will have no impact on development. In 2015, total disbursements of loans and grants reached a record $12.34 billion, an increase of 21% over the previous year.
“Our record performance last year reflected strong and growing demand from the Asian and Pacific region,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said. “Infrastructure and other development needs are huge and poverty remains pervasive despite the region’s robust growth performance.”
To help meet the increased demand for its operations, ADB Board of Governors last year unanimously endorsed the merger of ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund and its market-based ordinary capital resource balance sheet. With this path-breaking reform, ADB’s financing capacity (annual approvals of loans and grants) will dramatically increase up to $20 billion by 2020. ADB is well on track to achieve this scaling up.
Among ADB’s operational highlights last year were the quick response to natural disasters, especially the Nepal earthquake in April and the Vanuatu cyclone in March; and support for necessary fiscal measures of countries suffering from lower commodity prices and volatility in financial markets, such as Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
In 2015, ADB was among the first multilateral development banks to commit a sizeable climate finance target. In late September, ADB announced it would double its annual climate financing to $6 billion by 2020, up from the current $3 billion. To support its climate work, ADB issued its first green bond. ADB approved its first policy-based loan in the People’s Republic of China to improve air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.
In order to help effectively mobilise financial resources and management skills from the private sector for infrastructure development, ADB established an Office of Public-Private Partnership (PPP). This office offered active transaction advisory services for PPP projects in the region such as the North-South Railway project in the Philippines. ADB made further progress in streamlining procedures for country programing, project processing, and procurement. One example was the introduction of tailor-made procurement procedures specifically for small Pacific Island countries.
ADB has been providing greater resources and delegating more authority to its 31 field offices to improve its responsiveness on the ground.
Last year, ADB operationalised seven sector groups such as energy and transport, and eight thematic groups such as governance and gender, which work across operations departments. This will strengthen ADB’s knowledge services and provide innovative solutions to client countries.
“As we approach our 50th anniversary this year, we are committed to scaling up our operations, and achieving poverty reduction and sustainable development in the region,” Nakao said. “We will be a stronger, better, and faster bank by deepening our partnerships with member countries, other international financial institutions, and civil society.”
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.
ADB to work with China-backed AIIB: Nakao
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao poses in front of the logo of ADB at its headquarters in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila after a forum with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines 8 January – Reuters
AFP: The US-backed Asian Development Bank will cooperate with a major new Chinese-led multilateral lending institution and they plan to co-finance projects this year, the ADB’s president said Friday.
The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been viewed by some as a rival to the World Bank and the Philippines-based ADB, which was founded in 1966.
But ADB President Takehiko Nakao said he did not believe the AIIB, which will launch next week with starting capital of $ 20 billion, will diminish his institution and they were happy to work together.
“We agreed we can cooperate,” Nakao, told reporters in Manila, adding he already had two meetings with AIIB president-designate Jin Liqun since last year to set parameters for the two institutions’ working relationship.
“(Jin’s) ideas about operations are different, but because of these different ideas, we can complement each other even more.” Nakao said the two men agreed to co-finance certain projects in the region to address transport and renewable energy needs, and expected to announce specific projects by about the middle of the year. China’s official Xinhua News Agency earlier reported the AIIB, which will launch next week in Beijing, expected to offer its first batch of project loans by mid-2016.
Nakao, former Japanese vice finance minister, would not say how much money the ADB would put into AIIB co-financing.
The United States and Japan – the world’s largest and third-largest economies, respectively – have notably declined to join the AIIB. However many other major economies, including Germany, Britain, South Korea and Russia, have signed up.
“There are many reasons to do it (join) because Asian developing nation countries need money for financing infrastructure needs,” Nakao said. Nakao estimated Asia would need eight trillion dollars to close its 2010-2020 infrastructure financing gap, a principal thrust of past ADB lending. “We welcome any support to us in terms of financing infrastructure,” he said. Nakao downplayed suggestions the AIIB would erode the ADB’s role in the region.
“I would say this is more a chance for us, rather than eroding... because we can share our expertise and knowledge and systems,” he said.