CHIANG RAI, THAILAND (5 April 2019) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao today reaffirmed his continued support for sustainable infrastructure investment at the 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Mr. Nakao and Thai Finance Minister Mr. Apisak Tantivorawong, the chair of this year’s ASEAN meetings, had an in-depth discussion about Thailand’s economic growth and ADB’s support, including infrastructure development projects in transport and energy.
ADB works closely with Thailand to provide customized financial and knowledge solutions that respond to the development needs of an upper-middle-income country. ADB made $7.23 billion in commitments to Thailand, including loans and grants, between 1966 and 2018, with $515 million in commitments in 2018 including a sovereign loan with flexible disbursement arrangements and a nonsovereign investment and technical support for Thailand’s first certified climate bonds.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Nakao also met with other high-level ASEAN government officials, including Indonesia Finance Minister Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Singapore Finance Minister Mr. Heng Swee Keat, and Viet Nam Finance Minister Mr. Dinh Tien Dung, and voiced support for their countries’ development.
In a speech to ASEAN ministers, Mr. Nakao praised ASEAN’s solid economic growth—expected to average around 5% in 2019 and 2020—despite weakening global growth and some uncertainties including trade tensions between countries. He talked about the importance of sustainable tourism for the inclusive growth of ASEAN countries. He noted the need for ASEAN countries to further strengthen regional trade and investment cooperation, cut red tape to improve the business climate, and lift services restrictions to boost e-commerce and tourism. Mr. Nakao also emphasized the importance of debt sustainability in infrastructure projects.
Mr. Nakao said ADB is expanding its loans and grants for ASEAN infrastructure projects and enhancing connectivity between countries. ADB continues to help mobilize more public and private funds for infrastructure through supporting reforms to strengthen tax collection, promoting public-private partnerships, and providing ADB’s credit enhancement functions. ADB is incorporating advanced technologies and innovative solutions in its infrastructure projects as well as social sector assistance in ASEAN countries.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.