Address by Masatsugu Asakawa, President, Asian Development Bank, to the Board of Governors Business Session, at the 55th Annual Meeting, 5 May 2022

Members of the Board of Governors, greetings.

We are meeting virtually for this Business Session for the third straight year, because, while there has been much progress toward overcoming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, conditions do not yet allow us to meet in person.

However, I look forward to the possibility of gathering together with you and our stakeholders later this year, where we can discuss in much more detail the conditions in Asia and the Pacific, ADB’s support to our developing member countries (DMCs), and our priorities moving forward.

Until then, let me offer two brief messages.

First, although today’s business session is abbreviated, the items taken up here are absolutely critical to ensuring ADB’s service to the region.

I am very grateful to the Governors – through the guidance of the Chair of the ADB Board of Governors, the Minister of Finance and Governor for Sri Lanka – for adopting ADB’s financial statements and allocation of net income. The items on our agenda reflect ADB’s robust activity during a crucial year for our region, with commitments of $22.8 billion in 2021 and allocable net income of $1.2 billion. I am very grateful for your decision to allocate $292 million of this allocable net income to the Asian Development Fund and $90 million to the Technical Assistance Special Fund.

The business you completed today will allow us to continue to provide support to our DMCs, swiftly and without interruption, during these challenging times. I am also grateful to my ADB staff, who have maintained the highest standards in their work and delivered for the populations we serve.

My second message is that although the major challenges we have faced recently may seem stark and overwhelming, all crises do have an end.

Accordingly, we have ensured that ADB’s response to the pandemic maintained a clear focus on accelerating the transition to a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery – because mitigating the impacts of the current crisis and addressing long-term development needs are not mutually exclusive.

And so, we continue to serve as the climate bank for Asia and the Pacific, by supporting the just transition to a net zero future. We are promoting gender equality across our operations. We are addressing poverty and inequality – especially for the most vulnerable – by strengthening health, education, and social protection. We are enhancing regional cooperation, and supporting efforts to enable our DMCs to better mobilize the resources they need to meet their development needs.

Across our operations, we are building resilience, and remaining vigilant against future crises. I am confident that, through our cooperation and careful planning, we will lead our region through the challenges and emerge stronger than before.

Let me end by saying thank you, Governors, for your support, guidance, and solidarity over the past year.

Let us continue on the path we have laid out – in our Strategy 2030, and through all the wise adjustments you have made to ensure that our vision stays relevant, and attainable – as we strive for a more prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.

Thank you.