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Governors' Seminar

Lessons from 50 Years of Asian Development and Implications for the Future

Friday, 5 May 2017, 10:30 am–12:00 pm, InterContinental Ballroom


Taro AsoGovernor for Japan, ADB; and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services in Japan

Mr. Aso had previously served as Prime Minister, minister of foreign affairs, minister for internal affairs and communications, and minister of state, economic and fiscal policy of Japan.

Shaktikanta Das Alternate Governor for India, ADB; and Department of Economic Affairs Secretary, Ministry of Finance, India

Shaktikanta Das is the Alternate Governor for India in the Asian Development Bank. He has been the Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance since September 2015. Mr. Das earlier held the assignment of Secretary of Department of Revenue in the same ministry. He has also held various positions in the Government of Tamil Nadu and other government corporations. Mr. Das holds a Master's degree from St. Stephen's College, Delhi.

Sri Mulyani IndrawatiGovernor for Indonesia, ADB; and Minister of Finance, Indonesia

Ms. Indrawati previously served in the same post of minister of finance of Indonesia from 2005 to 2010, before she was appointed as managing director of the World Bank Group in June 2010.

Takehiko NakaoPresident and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, ADB

Takehiko Nakao is the President of ADB and the Chairperson of ADB's Board of Directors. He was elected President by ADB's Board of Governors and assumed office in April 2013. Before joining ADB, Mr. Nakao was the vice minister of finance for international affairs at the Ministry of Finance of Japan.

Aiyaz Sayed-KhaiyumGovernor for Fiji, ADB; and Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, and Communications, Fiji

Mr. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the attorney-general and minister for economy, public enterprises, civil service, and communications of Fiji. He is also the minister responsible for justice and anticorruption, elections, civil aviation, and climate change. He has held the portfolios of minister for industry, trade and tourism, local government, housing, and environment. He also oversaw the reform of Fiji’s taxation regime and has led a number of initiatives including private-public partnerships in key economic sectors to raise public participation in the Fijian economy.

Tone SkogenGovernor for Norway, ADB; and State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Ms. Skogen has been state secretary since August 2015. From 2013, she was acting director general in the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, where she has held various positions since 1978. Ms. Skogen was also state secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry from 2004 to 2005.


Zeinab Badawi International Broadcaster

Ms. Badawi is an award winning broadcaster with extensive experience, including in programs like the BBC's Hardtalk and Global Questions. She is also producing a History of Africa series. Ms. Badawi sits on several public bodies and is chair of the Royal African Society. She has a BA Hons in politics and economics from Oxford University, a history MA from SOAS London University (awarded with a distinction), and two honorary doctorates.

Seminar Summary

Developing Asia’s stellar economic performance in the last 50 years has led to significant reductions in extreme poverty, large improvements in well-being and living standards, and dramatic structural transformation. Much has been written about the region’s success. But how Asia has managed to make such impressive progress has continued to be an intensely debated subject. Discussions focus on the role of openness, trade, and foreign direct investment; state, industrial policy, and market competition; political and macroeconomic stability; social inclusion and equity; quality of governance and institutions; and leadership, vision, and development planning.

At the Governors’ Seminar, panelists reflected on 50 years of Asian development and implications for the future.

Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati focused on the need for flexibility in adopting required policies, investment in infrastructure and human capital, and openness and competition to sustain economic growth and move beyond middle income to high income status, reflecting on Indonesian experiences.

Minister Taro Aso highlighted Japan’s contributions to Asian development, particularly its assistance on the region’s infrastructure spending and private sector development. He also discussed the challenge of population ageing, including the need for elderly care, in the coming years.

Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das stressed the importance of providing livelihood programs, upgrading infrastructure, implementing structural reform measures, promoting manufacturing, and reorienting public expenditure against poverty.

State Secretary Tone Skogen noted that addressing the challenges of poverty and inequality requires commitment and political leadership to ensure good governance, gender equality, basic health and education for all, energy access, and a conducive business environment to attract private investment. She also shared Norway’s experience in transitioning toward green growth. Minister Sayed-Khaiyum talked about the impact of climate change in the Pacific. He also underscored the role of tourism in subregional growth and the importance of economies of scale in subregional projects.

Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum talked about the impact of climate change in the Pacific. He also underscored the role of tourism in subregional growth and the importance of economies of scale in subregional projects.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao emphasized the role of market-based resource allocation and openness to investment and trade as powerful drivers of economic growth and development. Although openness is often viewed as exacerbating income inequality, he asserts that ADB continues to support efforts by its developing member countries to seize the benefits of openness for inclusive growth.