YOKOHAMA, JAPAN (4 May 2017) — An ADB History Book, Banking on the Future of Asia and the Pacific: 50 Years of the Asian Development Bank, was released today at ADB’s 50th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Yokohama. It details ADB’s activities from its origin in 1966, decade by decade to the present day. It also illustrates the genesis of ADB regarding different proposals from across Asia and the Pacific, preparatory meetings in Bangkok, Manila and other cities, and collaboration of people within and outside the region to discuss the Charter, membership, and location of the Headquarters.
The book is authored by Peter McCawley, an academic from the Australian National University, a former Executive Director of ADB and former Dean of the ADB Institute. He was supported by the intensive work of a team of ADB staff, and benefited from comments and inputs of numerous people, including former ADB personnel.
The book aims to review how ADB over 50 years has responded to Asia’s challenges given its unique regional perspective. It provides an objective and comprehensive account of ADB’s 50 years through three historical narratives—Asia’s economic development, the evolution of the international development agenda, and the story of ADB itself. ADB President Takehiko Nakao said that “the unique character of this book is to discuss Asia’s economic history, from the perspective of development and based on the rich experience of ADB’s interaction with countries.”
In his Foreword, Mr. Nakao writes that ADB is a child of the genuine aspiration by people across the region, and that the establishment of ADB represents a spirit of regional cooperation. Looking back at ADB’s achievements in supporting its developing member countries, he summarized them into three broad functions: (i) combining finance (loans and grants) with knowledge in infrastructure and social sector projects; (ii) promoting good policies through dialogue, capacity building, and policy-based lending; and (iii) catalyzing regional cooperation and friendship.
The book is the first detailed corporate history of ADB in 30 years—the last was published in 1987 to commemorate the 20th anniversary. A special seminar to discuss ADB’s 50-year history and its implications for the future role of ADB in Asia and the Pacific will be held today from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center Room 503.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.