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ADB a Year in Review: 2018 New Strategy but Same Commitment to Asia and the Pacific

Article | 2 January 2019

In 2018, the Asian Development Bank launched a new long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, that combines finance, knowledge, and partnerships to eradicate extreme poverty and work toward a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific. This was just one aspect of a busy year in 2018.


In January, ADB announced that operations—comprising approvals of loans and grants, technical assistance, and cofinancing—reached $28.9 billion in 2017. The funding was part of ADB’s continued efforts to help meet Asia and the Pacific’s development needs. Approvals of loans and grants from ADB’s own resources reached a record $19.1 billion, representing a 9% increase from the $17.5 billion seen the year before.
Source: ADB 2017 Operations Reach $28.9 Billion


In February, ADB released a variety of knowledge products that helped guide policy makers in Asia’s developing economies. These included: The Implications of Ultra-Low and Negative Interest Rates for Asia; Shifting Towards a Consumer-Centered Economy and the Implications for International Trade, and; Population Aging and the Possibility of a Middle-Income Trap in Asia.


In March, ADB returned to the United States dollar bond market with the pricing of a $3.25 billion 5-year global benchmark bond issue. The proceeds of the bond issue were part of ADB’s ordinary capital resources, which are used to promote social and economic development in Asia and the Pacific.
Source: ADB Sells $3.25 Billion 5-Year Global Benchmark Bonds


In April, ADB released its flagship annual economic report, Asian Development Outlook (ADO), which noted that growth picked up across most of the economies in Asia’s developing countries, supported by continued high demand for exports and rapidly expanding domestic demand. A special theme chapter of the report noted that technological advances had transformed the two billion worker Asian labor market and helped create 30 million jobs annually in industry and services over the last 25 years.
Source: Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018: How Technology Affects Jobs


In May, finance ministers, central bank governors, private sector representatives, development partners, and others gathered at ADB headquarters in Manila, Philippines for the 51st Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors. More than 4,000 participants from across Asia, North America, and Europe attended the meeting, which included forums and discussions on issues related to economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific. During the meeting, ADB announced that private sector operations reached $2.3 billion, growing the bank’s overall portfolio of private sector operations by 17% to $10.9 billion.


In June, ADB ranked first in the 2018 Aid Transparency Index, an independent measurement of aid transparency spearheaded by British nongovernment organization Publish What You Fund. This was the first time that ADB ranked No. 1 in the index. From a score of 84.9% in 2016, ADB’s score improved to 98.6% in 2018.
Source: ADB Ranked First on Aid Transparency Among Development Organizations

Also in June, the world’s six largest multilateral development banks announced that climate financing by their organizations rose to a 7-year high of $35.2 billion in 2017, up 28% from the previous year. The report said $27.9 billion, or 79% of the 2017 total, was devoted to climate mitigation projects that helped reduce harmful emissions and slow down global warming. In 2017, ADB’s climate investments reached $4.5 billion, a 21% increase from 2016.
Source: MDB Climate Finance Hit Record High of $35.2 Billion in 2017


In July, ADB’s Board of Directors approved a new long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, that set out the institution’s broad vision and strategic response to the evolving needs of Asia and the Pacific. Upon approval of the new strategy, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said: “Asia and the Pacific has made great progress over the last half century in poverty reduction and economic growth, but there are unfinished development agendas. Under Strategy 2030, we will combine finance, knowledge, and partnerships to sustain our efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and expand our vision towards a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region.”
Source: ADB Launches Strategy 2030 to Respond to Changing Needs of Asia and Pacific

Also in July, ADB released its supplement to the Asian Development Outlook 2018 report, noting that growth in Asia and the Pacific’s developing economies for 2018 and 2019 is expected to remain solid, despite rising tensions between the United States and its trading partners.
Source: Asian Growth Steady Despite Rising Trade Tensions


In August, more than 400 youth representatives from Asia and the Pacific launched the Incheon Youth Declaration on the Future of Work, which called upon the international community to invest in more inclusive, large-scale, and market-relevant solutions for youth employment and entrepreneurship. The declaration was made during the 6th Asian Youth Forum, which ADB helped organize, and coincided with International Youth Day on August 12.
Source: Youth Calls for Action to Build the Workforce of the Future


In September, ADB hosted Transport Forum 2018, which brought together about 500 experts, including senior officials in transport and international development, and representatives from government, the private sector, academe, and nongovernment organizations. At the meeting, participants discussed how to meet the region’s transport needs, which are expected to require $8.4 trillion in financing by 2030.
Source: Experts Discuss Bridging Funding Gap for Asia's $8.4 Trillion Transport Needs

In September, ADB also launched the Trade Finance Scorecard, the first scorecard to boost access to trade finance regulation and market feedback, while ADB's Board of Directors approved a new Access to Information Policy that maintains ADB’s high standards of transparency.

New knowledge products released in September included the report, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2018, which provided economic, financial, social, and environmental statistics for 48 regional economies. Also released during the month was an update of ADB’s flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018, which noted that growth remained stable across most of developing Asia due to robust domestic demand, buoyant oil and gas prices, and a consolidation of India’s growth rebound.



In October, ADB and other development finance institutions announced that they used about $1.2 billion to support nearly $9 billion in private investment projects in emerging markets in 2016. The projects included $3.9 billion of commercial financing from development finance institutions as well as $3.3 billion from private lenders and investors, according to the 2018 Joint Report of the DFI Working Group on Blended Concessional Finance for Private Sector Projects.
Source: ADB, Other DFIs Leveraged Blended Concessional Finance to Support $9 Billion in Emerging Markets

Also in October, ADB hosted more than 800 participants in the Asia Water Forum 2018, which focused on the use of information, innovation, and technology to help ensure water security for Asia and Pacific. Participants included government officials, water and development professionals, and representatives from the private sector, academia, civil society, and media.
Source: Fifth Asia Water Forum Discusses Innovation and Technology to Address Asia's Water Challenges


In November, more than 150 representatives from multilateral organizations, financial institutions, private sector, academia, and think tanks gathered at ADB headquarters in Manila for the opening of the first ADB Knowledge Forum. The theme of the event was: “Learn. Collaborate. Apply.” It was organized as part of ADB’s efforts to make better use of the latest knowledge for improving social and economic advancement in developing countries.
Source: First ADB Knowledge Forum Shares Lessons and Innovations for the Future of Development


In December, ADB launched a variety of initiatives to help the region address climate change. ADB joined other multilateral development banks in a joint framework that aligns their activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement and reinforces their commitment to addressing climate change. In the joint declaration, the banks committed to working together in six areas considered central to meeting the goals of the agreement, which aims to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C.

ADB also announced the launch of the Article 6 Support Facility, a $4 million initiative to help developing countries in Asia and the Pacific combat climate change through a key provision of the Paris Agreement.