MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda steps down today after eight years that has seen ADB transformed into a more relevant, responsive and results-oriented institution, helping developing Asia-Pacific countries reduce poverty and increase standards of living for their people.
"Mr. Kuroda has done an exemplary job of leading the Asian Development Bank for more than eight years. His extraordinary vision and leadership has enabled ADB to significantly advance its mission of poverty reduction and sustainable economic development in Asia and the Pacific. We are grateful to him for his service and wish him well," said P. Chidambaram, Chair of the ADB Board of Governors and Finance Minister of India.
Under Mr. Kuroda, the Bank's longest serving president, ADB has grown as the region's premier development institution. Its operations tripled from $7.4 billion in 2005 to $21.57 billion in 2012 including cofinancing, reflecting the region's growing demand for development finance. To support this growth in operations, he oversaw ADB's first general capital increase in 14 years, which tripled its capital base to $165 billion, and two replenishments of the Asian Development Fund, which raised over $23 billion to help meet the needs of ADB's poorest member countries.
In 2008, ADB adopted a long-term strategic framework to focus its efforts on promoting more inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth in Asia and the Pacific, along with regional cooperation and integration. The same year, ADB became the first multilateral bank to adopt a corporate-wide results framework using performance indicators and targets. Accountability and transparency were enhanced through more information disclosure, a stronger accountability mechanism, and an independent evaluation function; and ADB's effectiveness strengthened through a number of internal reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ADB's lending.
Assessments conducted by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) during Mr. Kuroda's term deemed the Bank to be highly effective in delivering development results. The priority that ADB gave to knowledge solutions was recognized with the prestigious Asia Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) award in both 2011 and 2012.
Mr. Kuroda's tenure covered a period of significant growth in the region, but also of tremendous challenges. During the 2008 global financial crisis, which affected many of ADB's developing member countries, ADB provided much-needed assistance through the establishment of a $3 billion Countercyclical Support Facility to meet urgent needs, and an expansion of ADB's Trade Finance Program, which supported $2 billion in trade, bolstered small and medium sized enterprises, and protected jobs and industries in the most challenging markets.
Other key achievements include the establishment of the ADB-administered ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, which will help meet the needs for infrastructure connectivity in Southeast Asia, and ADB's resumption of operations in Myanmar after more than 20 years. Earlier this year, Mr. Kuroda became the first head of a multilateral development bank to visit Myanmar since the country's reengagement with the international community.
"ADB is, and will continue to be, a very important part of the region's success," Mr. Kuroda said. "It is critical that ADB continues to support its member countries in taking advantage of opportunities for growth, and in responding to crises. I am honored to have been entrusted with the leadership of this great organization, and I am proud of all we have accomplished together. Of course, much remains to be done in a region still faced with many challenges. I have every confidence in ADB's continued success in addressing them."