By Indika Sakalasooriya in Manila
Sri Lanka’s Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera arrived in Manila, the Philippines, yesterday to take part in the 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Governors.
Finance and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga accompanied Samaraweera.
The officials from the Finance Ministry’s External Resources Department arrived in Manila on Tuesday, before the arrival of the minister and the secretary.
Samaraweera is scheduled to address the meeting on May 5 (Saturday) during the ‘Governors’ Plenary: ADB Strategy 2030’ session.
Over 4,000 participants, including finance ministers, central bank governors, private sector representatives, academics, members of the civil society and media from across Asia, North America and Europe are expected to attend the meeting from May 3 to 6.
In a press release, ADB President Takehiko Nakao expressed his deep gratitude to the Philippine government for hosting the Annual Meeting with the theme ‘Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Development’.
This is the 16th Annual Meeting held in Manila. Last year’s Annual Meeting was held in Yokohama, Japan. Next year’s meeting will be held in Fiji.
ADB said the delegates and participants over the coming days would discuss ADB’s Strategy 2030 to “achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.”
Various seminars and events will also be held during the Annual Meeting.
Topics include: Examining the effect of new technologies and globalisation on jobs and how countries can prepare, addressing gender gaps in the region through women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, mobilising private sector resources in meeting Asia’s huge infrastructure needs, adapting new technologies in finance, investing in community-led solutions for climate and disaster resilience and promoting inclusive growth through regional cooperation.
ADB, UK establish fund to improve trade, connectivity in Asia-Pacific
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of the United Kingdom, through its Department for International Development (DFID), yesterday launched the Asia Regional Trade and Connectivity Fund (ARTCF) ahead of the Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors in Manila, the Philippines.
The fund, to be administered by ADB, will provide support to address some of the frontier challenges the ADB members face in improving regional integration, such as enabling private sector development and addressing regional public goods. The DFID will provide an initial contribution of up to US $ 30 million.
The ARTCF will initially focus on eight Central and South Asian countries, specifically Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
In line with ADB’s Operational Plan for Regional Cooperation and Integration, 2016-2020, ARTCF will help the selected ADB developing member countries to identify and design projects that improve cross-border transport, energy and information and communications technology infrastructure.
It will also help the recipients of the fund tackle red tape and regulatory bottlenecks, provide financing for regional projects to increase their poverty reduction and gender impacts and strengthen the capacity of the member countries for prospective investments.
The fund was launched at an event attended by ADB Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Vice President Bambang Susantono, ADB Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations Vice President Diwakar Gupta, ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada and DFID Asia Regional Deputy Head Duncan Overfield.
“ADB’s partnership with DFID will help further our ambitious knowledge-driven agenda and ensure that our members have access to the most effective, evidence-based solutions to further their regional integration goals,” said Susantono.
“Let me extend my special appreciation to DFID for its support on new regional cooperation and integration areas.”
“One of ADB’s core goals is to help our member countries work, trade and connect more easily with each other and across the region,” said Gupta.
“ADB’s partnership with DFID will strengthen regional cooperation and integration operations while addressing some of the region’s most important development priorities.”
Since joining in 1966 as a founding member, the Government of the United Kingdom has contributed US $ 3.09 billion in capital subscription to ADB and committed US $ 1.43 billion to the bank’s Special Funds as of December 31, 2017.
ADB and DFID’s first cofinancing collaboration was in 1996 and since then, the two institutions have partnered on poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, finance, health, climate change and public and private partnerships to benefit the people of the Asia and Pacific region.