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To meet Asia’s development needs: ADB approves record $27 B in 2015

Ted P. Torres - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank’s 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 percent over the $22.89 billion in 2014.

“Our record performance last year reflected strong and growing demand from Asia and the 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,” he said.

ADB’s approvals of loans and grants, sovereign (governments) and non-sovereign (primarily private sector), reached a record $16.58 billion, a 23 percent increase from 2014. Technical assistance amounted to $144 million and cofinancing increased 13 percent to a record $10.43 billion in 2015.

Out of the $16.58 billion, sovereign loan and grant approvals increased 21 percent 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 percent 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 $12.34 billion, an increase of 21 percent over the previous year.

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.

In 2015, ADB was among the first multilateral development banks to commit a sizable 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 China to improve air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.

In order to help effectively mobilize 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.

Last year, ADB operationalized seven sector groups such as energy and transport, and eight thematic groups such as governance and gender, which work across operations departments.

“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.”             

ACIRC

ADB

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT FUND

BILLION

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

DEVELOPMENT

NBSP

NORTH-SOUTH RAILWAY

OFFICE OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

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