Sustaining Growth beyond Recovery

Speech | 18 July 2011

Statement by Haruhiko Kuroda, ADB President, at the WTO Third Global Review Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland

I. Introduction

Director-General Lamy, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor to report to you on the results of Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific. Trade has underpinned our region’s phenomenal growth and poverty reduction over the past several decades. Since 2006, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) co-hosted three Aid for Trade regional review meetings. The most recent was last month in Jakarta.

Let me concentrate my remarks on the three key issues for this session—first, how Aid for Trade can help sustain growth; second, how we can ensure accountability to our stakeholders; and third, how we can share best practices.

II. Trade and Sustainable Growth

Asia has largely moved beyond recovery through effective stimulus. It is generally accepted that developing Asia needs to rebalance the sources of growth more toward domestic and regional demand. This is already happening to varying degrees. Complex production networks have bolstered intra-regional trade, which creates jobs and higher incomes. This creates demand for both domestic and imported products. Rebalancing thus contributes to resolving global payments imbalances as well.

ADB has been active in this process. ADB’s additional crisis-related lending assistance amounts to about $8.6 billion for 2008-2010, which includes $2.5 billion for Countercyclical Support Facility and the expansion of our Trade Finance Program. In the next three years, we plan to further increase our support to trade facilitation and also continue to help strengthen trade institutions through loans, grants and technical assistance—as with Indonesia’s Eximbank and Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce. And ADB recently established the Asian International Economist Network to help build the region’s trade policy capacity.

The challenge is to make Asia’s development more equitable and inclusive. The majority of the world’s extreme poor still reside in Asia. We must bring our least developed economies into the equation. We must close the gap between Asia’s surging economies and those mired in poverty by isolation, limited resources, miniscule trade and inadequate finance. Better strategies are called for, along with more aid for trade.

III. Accountability; Managing for Development Results

The second issue for this session is accountability—how we report results and ensure aid goes where it is supposed to. As signatory to both the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action, ADB is committed to achieving aid effectiveness. We work with our developing member countries to ensure our strategies and assistance are aligned and responsive to their development needs and strategies.

Under ADB’s long-term strategic framework, Strategy2020, our corporate-wide results framework allows us to better deliver tangible benefits to clients and strengthen accountability to stakeholders. The framework forms the basis of our Development Effectiveness Review, which includes an annual scorecard using 77 performance indicators with baselines and targets that were agreed with shareholders. It shows where ADB has been successful, where challenges remain, and where remedial action is required.

IV. Sharing What Works

The third issue is how we share what works. Our regional programs are multi-donor and recipient-based. We have had success in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia. And we are using that experience for new trade projects through the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation program and the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program, among others.

The Regional Technical Group for Aid for Trade for the Asia-Pacific is another important avenue. Here, we help define needs and identify what works best. Our collective knowledge has been made more open and accessible through the Regional Technical Group Report, which is available today.

We also use our experience and lessons learned to spread best practices. Last month, ADB agreed to share our Trade Finance Program documentation and know-how with our colleagues at the African Development Bank—to enable a replication of our own successful program, which we hope will lead to greater South-South trade.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to Aid for Trade. Developing economic corridors, fostering public-private partnerships, donor coordination, and effective monitoring and evaluation are common elements. ADB's experience suggests there are large returns where there is political commitment and effective donor coordination.

V. Conclusion

To conclude, our region needs more Aid for Trade. ADB’s 45 years of experience shows what works and where we should be heading. Together with my distinguished colleagues, we look forward to continue working as a trusted development partner in making Aid for Trade work best to reduce poverty.

Thank you.