BISHKEK, KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (10 March 2021) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Kanokpan Lao-Araya as its new Country Director for the Kyrgyz Republic.
Ms. Lao-Araya will lead ADB’s operations in the Kyrgyz Republic and supervise the implementation of the bank’s country partnership strategy, 2018–2022 and country operations business plan, 2021–2023. Both aim to support growth and economic diversification, improve access to public and social services, and leverage regional cooperation and integration.
“I am pleased to lead ADB’s efforts to support the Kyrgyz Republic’s development goals,” said Ms. Lao-Araya. “Through ADB’s investments and support of reform programs, we will continue to help the country recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, drive inclusive growth, and improve access to public services in order to improve the lives of people across the country.”
Ms. Lao-Araya has more than 25 years’ experience working on development and economic issues across the Asia-Pacific region. She joined ADB in 2001 from the Ministry of Finance in Thailand and has since held a series of increasingly senior positions. Latterly, she was ADB Country Director for Bhutan where she led the bank’s operations including the implementation of ADB’s COVID-19 support.
Ms. Lao-Araya holds doctorate and master’s degrees in economics from Indiana University Bloomington, USA, and a bachelor's degree in economics from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. She is a national of Thailand.
Ms. Lao-Araya replaces Candice McDeigan who was appointed as ADB Country Director for Azerbaijan.
In 2020, ADB provided more than $70 million to the Kyrgyz Republic including $50 million in budget support and $20 million in emergency assistance to help mitigate the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 and strengthen the health sector. Since the Kyrgyz Republic joined ADB in 1994, the bank has provided around $1.4 billion in grants and loans.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.