Manila: The Asian Development Bank(ADB) has to radically transform itself if it wants to remain relevant in a rapidly changing Asia, a major report on the future role of the ADB said on 2 April.
The report projects that by 2020, Asia will be dramatically transformed into a region that has largely conquered extreme poverty, one of the main reasons for the bank’s existence.
It estimates that by 2020 almost two billion people from East Asia will be living on less than a dollar (Rs43) a day.
At the same time, 90% of the region’s people will be living in middle income countries, with its economy accounting for 45% of global output and 35% of world trade.
ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda on 2 April welcomed the report and its findings. “The report is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, and provides us with invaluable insights that will help chart the future course for ADB,” he said.
A special pannel of eminent persons headed by Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, was set up last year to examine the trends and challenges facing the region and how these will impact the Manila-based bank’s future.
“To effectively carry out its role in a rapidly changing Asia, the ADB must radically change itself and adopt new models of development banking that allow it to be responsive to the region’s evolving needs between now and 2020,” Supachai said.
The report said the “New ADB” must be “focused and driven by three changed strategic directions -- from fighting extensive poverty to supporting higher and more inclusive growth; from economic growth to environmentally sustainable growth; and from a primarily national focus to a regional and ultimately global focus.”
It said the bank must realign its operations and focus its work on six core areas -- infrastructure development, financial sector development, energy and environment issues, regional integration, technological development and innovation, and knowledge management.
“Under this new paradigm, the ADB’s work would significantly differ from its main areas of activity in the past,” the report said.