Chair-Elect's Remarks at the ADB Governors' Second Business Session - Ivane Matchavariani

Speech | 18 September 2020

Remarks by Ivane Matchavariani, Chair-Elect, ADB Board of Governors, at the Governors’ Second Business Session, 18 September 2020

Esteemed President Masatsugu Asakawa

Honorable Chairman and Governors

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Dear ADB Team

I am honored to be here today. I am grateful to ADB team for organizing the Annual Meeting in these difficult circumstances. We are living in unprecedented reality and I would like to thank organizers for timely coping with the challenge and giving us opportunity to meet, though virtually. Such virtual summits still give us opportunity to discuss very important aspects of cooperation.

Despite that, we all know how different it should have been. We all have had very high expectation from annual meeting in Incheon and I am sure the meeting in Korea was to be an absolute success. Let me express my appreciation to Korean authorities for all preparatory works that were done on a highest level. We hope that Incheon will have another chance to surprise all of us and to host Annual Meeting in coming years.

We are living in very difficult environment. Pandemic changed everything, created dire environment, when people suffer, economies are severely hit effecting living standards of everyone around the world. The New Coronavirus revealed how fragile our everyday life is.

ADB was on the frontline of fighting Pandemic and dealing with its consequences and continues to be so. ADB has established a comprehensive $20 billion package to member countries to help counter the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by Covid-19

Despite there are hopes about vaccine coming and mankind will be able with joint actions to defeat pandemic, the consequences on the economy is going to be long-lasting.

Post-Covid economies will not be the same as the one during pre-Covid times. Challenges will be long lasting. To tackle them, coordinated and inclusive working strategy is needed today for both: to deal with emergency needs and to strengthen the grounds for economic recovery.

Fellow Governors,

We in ADB need decisive actions!

  • First, we need to continue and even boost the focus on economic and structural reforms. These reforms that aim to strengthen the fundamentals of our economies and facilitate resilience to shocks.
  • Let me emphasize ADB’s role in Private Sector development. We should strengthen private sector role as an engine for economic recovery. And the role of ADB will be crucial here. Revising risk-appetite and thus promoting private sector is the issue that we will need to discuss in coming period.
  • Another direction is Human Capital. Top Four highest ranking countries in Human Capital Index (HCI) ranking are the countries of the region. Although we have sizable amount of countries, like Georgia, lagging behind. In assisting the countries in reforming their healthcare and education systems ADB has distinguished experience and huge potential which should be our long-term continuous focus.
  • We need to maintain the policies on promoting regional cooperation and integration. The future of our world is in building bridges and in holding together. Georgia is a very big promoter of free trade policies and will continue to be so. It is very important to help the countries investing in cross border connectivity. Higher Integrity, more openness and less barriers are the bases we should build our future on.

We are sure that the Bank will be a top institution in driving forward the common agenda of efficient economic recovery in post Covid period.

Fellow Governors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me remind you that next annual meeting is planned to be in Georgia. I think you all understand the challenges that will be facing hosting of this event. However, we are dedicated and strongly committed to hold outstanding and memorable Annual Meeting in Tbilisi.

Thank you!