Governors’ Seminar: Developing Asia Beyond the Pandemic

Friday, 18 September 2020, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm



The COVID-19 pandemic has upended developing Asia’s economic expansion, threatening to halt its progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Governments in Asia and the Pacific responded decisively to the crisis but now must get their economies on track while grappling with the constraints of the “new normal.” In his keynote speech, Mr. Ban said, “This pandemic has underlined the great need for global leadership and a strong multilateral response.” A distinguished panel took up this challenge exploring policies for crisis response, safe reopening, inclusive recovery, and future resilience.

The fallout from the pandemic has affected all economies in Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Asakawa emphasized, with economic losses amounting to as much as 8.5% of the region’s GDP according to ADB estimates. He highlighted ADB’s convening role in bringing countries together and providing a conduit for global actors such as the World Health Organization. Fostering close communication within the region has been critical during the pandemic response phase and will continue to be important once a vaccine is discovered.

Authorities have used diverse tools to cushion the economic impacts of the pandemic containment measures. Minister Indrawati related that Indonesia’s fiscal response has paid particular attention to the least resilient segments of the economy by bolstering social safety nets for the poorest and supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises. Similarly, Spain would have experienced a bigger drop in its economy, Minister Calviño noted, if not for the fiscal measures there which helped support economic demand. In Japan, Mr. Kuroda described the role the central bank has played ensuring financial markets remain stable and liquid to support investment.

Several panelists noted that the governments’ pandemic recovery plans can also be an opportunity to shift economies toward more inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth. Mr. Chang noted the Korean New Deal aims to accelerate the economy’s digital and green transformation. While the pandemic revealed the weaknesses of global production networks, the panel felt that what is needed is a rethinking of globalization to keep countries from becoming focused inward. Ms. Zou highlighted that regional cooperation and global institutions—including multilateral development banks—can play a role to reimagine globalization as the crisis subsides.

In closing, President Asakawa echoed the need to make growth more sustainable and equitable in the “new normal.” Toward that goal, he highlighted the need to direct investments toward areas with high social returns such as those supporting education and health, gender equity, and the green economy. As part of this, regional cooperation must be pursued to realize more inclusive globalization.

Keynote Speech

Ban Ki-moonFormer UN Secretary General and current President and Chair of the Global Green Growth Institute and Distinguished Chair Professor at Yonsei University's Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment

In April 2019, Mr. Ban was elected chair of the Presidential National Council on Climate and Air Quality of the Republic of Korea. The year before, he was elected chair of Boao Forum for Asia. In January 2018, Mr. Ban and former President of Austria Mr. Heinz Fischer were inducted co-chairs of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Ban Ki-moon was also elected chair of the Ethics Committee of the International Olympic Committee in September 2017. Currently, he is the distinguished chair professor and honorary chair at the Institute of Global Engagement and Empowerment at Yonsei University in Seoul, Republic of Korea. In February 2018, he was elected and has been serving as president of the assembly and chair of the Council of Global Green Growth Institute. Prior to these appointments, Mr. Ban served two consecutive terms as the secretary general of the United Nations (2007-2016). Mr. Ban received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Seoul National University, Republic of Korea. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, both in the US.


Masatsugu AsakawaPresident of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Chairperson of ADB’s Board of Directors

Masatsugu Asakawa is the President of the Asian Development Bank and the Chairperson of ADB’s Board of Directors. He was elected President by ADB’s Board of Governors and assumed office on 17 January 2020.

Before joining ADB, he served as Special Advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and has a professional career that spans nearly 4 decades in diverse fields such as international finance, development, and taxation at the Ministry of Finance.

Mr. Asakawa also worked for international organizations as the Chief Advisor to ADB President between 1989 and 1992, senior staff at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF (1996–2000), and Chair for the Committee on Fiscal Affairs at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011–2016).

Nadia CalviñoGovernor for Spain, ADB; and Third Vice-President of the Government and Minister for the Economy and Digitalization, Spain

In 1994, Nadia Calviño joined the Spanish public administration as member of the Corps of State Economists and Trade Experts. Since 2018, Ms. Calviño has been minister for economy and business, and from 2014 to 2018, she was the director general in charge of the budget within the European Union Commission. Previously, she held other senior management positions in the European Commission: deputy director general with a special responsibility for financial services, and deputy director general in the Directorate General for Competition with special responsibility for mergers and antitrust. Before joining the European Commission in September 2006, she was a civil servant in Spain working for the Ministry for Economy. She held different positions in the areas of foreign trade, macroeconomic analysis and forecasting, economic policy and competition. Senior roles included deputy director general for legal affairs, deputy director general for mergers, and director general for competition. Ms. Calviño was awarded the 2012 Women's Leadership Awards by the Aliter Business School and the 2007 Public Sector Lawyer of the Year by the Iberian Lawyer magazine. She holds a degree in economics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain and a degree in law 2001 from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.

Huh ChangDeputy Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea

Mr. Chang is deputy minister for international affairs in the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He has previously worked within the areas of international economic policies, overall economic policies in the Ministry and Office of the President. He has a doctorate in economics from Instituts d'études politiques de Paris.

Sri Mulyani IndrawatiVice Chair of the Board of Governors and Governor for Indonesia, ADB; and Minister of Finance in Indonesia

Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati served as minister of finance of Indonesia from 2005 to 2010. She was the managing director and chief operating officer of the World Bank Group from June 2010 to 2016. She was appointed minister of finance in 2016 and re-appointed in 2019.

Haruhiko KurodaAlternate Governor for Japan, ADB; and Governor, Bank of Japan

Haruhiko Kuroda was appointed governor of the Bank of Japan in March 2013 after serving for 8 years as President of ADB. During his career at Japan's Ministry of Finance, Mr. Kuroda’s responsibilities encompassed fields including international finance and national and international tax. From 1999 to 2003, he represented the ministry as vice minister of finance for international affairs at numerous international monetary conferences such as the G-7 meetings and bilateral meetings. Mr. Kuroda was special adviser to the cabinet of Prime Minister Koizumi, while he was professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo from 2003 to 2005.

Jiayi ZouAlternate Governor for the People's Republic of China, ADB; and Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, People's Republic of China

Jiayi Zou has been the vice minister of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), People's Republic of China, since June 2018. Prior to her current position, she was Commissioner at the National Commission of Supervision from March to June 2018, and vice minister of the Ministry of Supervision from April 2017 to March 2018. Before this, she served in various positions: as chief inspector of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in the Inspector’s Office, Central Foreign Affairs Office; assistant minister at the MOF, and director general at the Department of External Economic Cooperation, International Department as well as at the Department of International Economic Relations, MOF. Ms. Zou worked at the World Bank as executive director of the People's Republic of China from 2005 to 2009.


Zeinab BadawiInternational Broadcaster and Chair of the Royal African Society

Ms. Badawi is an award-winning international broadcaster with extensive experience, including in programs like the BBC's Hardtalk and Global Questions. She has also produced a groundbreaking 20-part TV series, History of Africa. 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 University of London (awarded with distinction), and two honorary doctorates.