Asian Development Bank approved a record US$27 billion in 2015
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) operations—comprising approvals of loans and grants, technical assistance, and co-financing—reached an all-time high of US$27.15 billion in 2015, an increase of about 19 percent over the US$22.89 billion in 2014, according to provisional figures released by the bank. ADB’s approvals of loans and grants, sovereign and non-sovereign (primarily private sector), reached a record US$16.58 billion—a 23 percent increase from 2014. Technical assistance amounted to US$144 million and co-financing increased by 13 percent to a record US$10.43 billion in 2015. “Our record performance last year reflected strong and growing demand from the Asian and Pacific region,” said Takehiko Nakao, President of the ADB. “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, the 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 reform, ADB’s financing capacity (annual approvals of loans and grants) will increase up to US$20 billion by 2020. 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. “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,” said Nakao. “We will be a stronger, better, and faster bank by deepening our partnerships with member countries, other international financial institutions, and civil society.” In 2015, the Asian Development Bank 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 US$6 billion by 2020, up from the current US$3 billion. To support its climate work, the bank 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.
By Nick Michell
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Photo: Asian Development Bank