Demand for assistance across the Pacific and Asia continues to grow in the past year with the Asian Development Bank’s annual report showing new commitments of $21.6 billion in loans, grants, and investments from the bank’s own resources.
That’s a jump of 10 per cent over the 2017 figure and an increase of almost $2 billion more than planned.
Three-quarters of the Cook Islands debt of $150 million is owed to the ADB, which is investing heavily in renewable energy, plans to reduce pollution going into the oceans, building disaster resilience and cutting poverty levels.
Across the Asia-Pacific region, private-sector operations reached $3.14 billion, a 37 per cent rise from 2017, which is 14.5 per cent of the ADB’s overall financial commitment.
The bank says the result reflected ADB’s long-term strategy to increase support for private enterprise, especially in new markets and sectors, to create more high-quality jobs and to mobilise private financial resources for development.
In its just released Annual Report for 2018, the ADB highlights its important operational and organisational milestones, including key numbers and data involving its operations, activities, and financial results.
The report also focuses on the adoption of ADB’s new long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, which was approved last July.
In his message to stakeholders, ADB president Takehiko Nakao said that Strategy 2030 had energised ADB and positioned the Manila-based lender well to help countries in the Pacific and Asia cope with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
“As our region continues to develop and transform, so too must ADB,” said Nakao. “Strategy 2030 provides us with a clear roadmap to meet the needs of our developing member countries (DMCs) and guide our operations for the next decade. We set out clear corporate targets to significantly increase operations, to build climate and disaster resilience, address gender equality, and mobilise long-term private financing.”
In 2018, ADB continued to deliver on its climate commitments with $3.6 billion in financing approved. ADB is on target to double its annual climate financing to $6 billion in approvals by 2020.
ADB also made significant progress in designing projects with a gender focus. In 2018, 47 per cent of ADB’s support, on a three-year-average term, included elements that directly improved the lives of women and girls in the region.
As well as its increased regional commitment, the ADB also successfully organised $14 billion in co-financing from associated agencies and other financing partners. That figure includes $7.17 billion in co-financing from ADB’s private-sector operations.
The increase in co-financing saw total new commitments reach $35.82 billion in 2018, a 13 per cent increase over 2017, reflecting the importance of partnerships in addressing Asia and the Pacific’s continuously growing development needs.
According to the ADB report: “Disbursements, a key indicator for successful project implementation, also improved, rising to $14.19 billion in 2018, an increase of 24 per cent from 2017.”
The report also records ADB’s successful efforts to strengthen its role as a leading provider of development knowledge and expertise to DMCs seeking support to implement policies, programmes, and projects that utilise international best practices and learnings.
Internally, ADB continued to implement initiatives to improve operational efficiency and business processes. The report describes key areas of reform that support Strategy 2030, including information technology reforms to modernise ADB’s systems and infrastructure.
In 2018, to complement its print and online editions, ADB produced a new format of the Annual Report that is optimised for smart devices and screens.
The Asian Development Bank says it is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.