Opening Press Conference Statement at the 46th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors

Opening Press Conference Statement by ADB President Takehiko Nakao on 2 May 2013 at the 46th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors in Greater Noida, Delhi, India. (as drafted)

Ladies and gentlemen:

Thank you for joining us this morning.

It is a pleasure to be here for ADB's 46th Annual Meeting. This is the third time that India has hosted an ADB Annual Meeting. We are most grateful for the excellent cooperation and wonderful hospitality the Indian people and the government have extended so far, and will extend for the coming few days.

"Development through Empowerment" is the theme for this Annual Meeting. The theme encompasses issues that are critical for sustaining high and inclusive growth in Developing Asia.

It is both timely and relevant that finance ministers and economic leaders around the world gather here in this dynamic country.

Looking at Asia as a whole, despite its remarkable growth in the past few decades, Asia still faces many developmental challenges. It is disheartening that in a region of such rapid progress, we still have a population of more than 800 million people living in absolute poverty. This, along with growing inequality, remains an overarching challenge.

At the same time, Asia is now home to many middle income countries, which need to find ways to overcome the middle income trap. We also need to tackle such challenges as climate change, food security, fragile states, gender equality, and regional integration. ADB's Strategy 2020, with its emphasis on inclusive growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional cooperation and integration will remain key to meeting these challenges.

Strategy 2020 also emphasizes the importance of enhancing private sector development, which is absolutely critical for sustaining high growth. I intend to push this agenda forward vigorously by enhancing operations for private sector development and promoting public-private partnerships.

As you know, this is my first Annual Meeting as President of ADB. I have been engaged in global economic issues, particularly those related to Asia, throughout my career. This includes involvement with ADB, so it is all the more exciting to be a part of ADB for this annual meeting. Although I will present my vision as the new President of ADB in my statement at the opening session, I look forward to hearing the perspectives and insights of our shareholders and partners about the opportunities, challenges, and expectations of ADB in the region.

I am pleased to see such a great turn-out, with more than 5,000 registered participants, including over 300 from the media. We highly appreciate your participation and hope that you will take this opportunity to bring wide attention to the challenges facing Asia and the Pacific. We have a great line-up of seminars and experts, and I hope you will take the opportunity to join as many as you can.

Let me close by expressing again my appreciation to the people and the Government of India for their efforts in hosting this meeting. This is a great opportunity for us to build on the strong relationship between ADB and India as we tackle the challenges of the region as a whole.

Thank you again for coming out. I would now be happy to respond to any questions you may have.