Having undertaken a review of its guiding policy document Strategy 2020, ADB is realigning its operations to emphasize inclusiveness, promote innovation and resilience, and strengthen support for middle-income countries. President Nakao discusses the results of the review and outlines how ADB will refocus to better meet the needs of a rapidly changing region.
President Takehiko Nakao: Basically, our track record is in line with our objective which is to reduce poverty and also to enhance the living condition of the people in the region. But we also found that the truth is there still remain a 700 million people who live below the absolute poverty line of 1.25 dollar a day. And according to the reality of the situation, I would say it’s too low…and if you use the 2 dollar a day threshold, still 1.6 million people will live in poverty. And those people face vulnerabilities from crop failures, illness and inflation and other challenges...
Q1: ADB will focus on seven strategic areas to meet the changing needs of the region, what are they?
Answer: These seven strategic areas include 1) poverty reduction and inclusive growth; 2) challenges of climate change; 3) regional integration and cooperation 4) we’ll keep our eye on infrastructure development, which is our strength; 5) private sector development. We will strengthen our support to public-private partnership; 6) knowledge work. We should strengthen our knowledge support to countries together with financing; 7) relevance to middle-income countries. Middle-income countries now face a lot of new challenges like urbanization, energy and inequality. So we should be relevant to those middle-income countries.
Q2: How should ADB change to meet these challenges?
Answer: ADB should remain very efficient and effective institution for that purpose. For instance, we should reform our procedures to alleviate burden to client-countries and possible contractors.
We can reduce the burden of procurement without compromising the integrity and safeguard. We can delegate more power to the resident missions. We can do away with the procedures that are duplicated. So we should ask ourselves how we can reform ourselves in addition to asking countries to reform their governance— that is one thing.
The second is how we can leverage and enhance our lending capacities to support countries well. Of course, we need knowledge and skill. But without financing, we cannot remain relevant for that purpose. We are pursuing innovative ideas of increasing our lending capacities.
And the third point is that, we should remain very secured and updated with the expertise and for the purpose our talent management of the staff is important.