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Martina - Private Sector Operations Department

Martina Tonizzo
Martina Tonizzo, Investment Specialist, Infrastructure Finance Division 2, Private Sector Operations Department

Why did you choose ADB?

It’s hard for me to summarize in a few lines why I chose ADB. I guess the main reason is that ADB is unique in being a multilateral development bank that hosts public and private sector operations under the same roof. ADB strategy focuses on providing clients with solutions that combine public and private financing.

I firmly believe that sustainable development can only happen when the private and public sector collaborate in achieving the same goal of providing good basic services, such as access to clean energy and water, or access to markets through better transportation.

I was right in my choice because during my five year tenure at ADB I have had the opportunity to work on both public and private operations. I joined the Young Professional Program as an Energy Specialist in the Pacific department that funds projects in the Pacific region. I then moved to the Private Sector Operations Department after two years and have been here ever since.

Another important reason to choose ADB is the focus on Asia, a region that hosts among the most populous and fastest growing economies in the world. I love the cultural variety of the region, as well as the challenging projects that need ADB assistance.

Can you tell us about the projects that you have worked on and how those have supported ADB’s objectives?

Last year I worked on several transactions in Indonesia and the Pacific. One transaction I loved is a $400 million loan to expand an existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility called Tangguh. The facility is located in West Papua, one of the poorest and socially complex areas of Indonesia. The financing, other than being large, was also challenging to structure. It is one of the most prominent deals in Asia in 2016 and ADB had a major role in ensuring that environmental and social safeguards best practice were followed.

Martina Tonizzo
Martina with local women in West Papua

The project contributes to ADB’s objectives in many ways. First, at the local level, the project is having a positive environmental impact. For instance, by limiting traffic of large ships other than LNG tankers, illegal fishing in the area has decreased. As a consequence, marine life has grown and thrived over time. The community also benefits from the project by having expanded access to health, education, and electricity, services that are partially funded by project revenues. The LNG facility purchases fish and vegetables from the local community and supports livelihood programs that teach the community how to grow crops and help fishermen store the catch. Secondly, the majority of the LNG produced by the expanded facility is going to be sold domestically, contributing to the generation of power from an indigenous energy source that is cleaner than coal.

Projects I am working on for ADB simply inspire me. The intellectual challenge of structuring the transaction as well as the reward of meeting communities that are helped and supported by ADB-funded projects is priceless: I feel like I am making a difference!

Does ADB provide good work-life balance?

Over my five years in the organization, I have seen an improvement in work-life balance policies and initiatives. The arrangement to temporarily working outside a duty station has gained acceptance and this helps many of us who have partners working in other cities or countries. In my case, my partner works in Hong Kong, China and I am able to spend part of the month working from there.

In addition to the increasing focus on timely outputs, rather than office inputs, ADB has numerous policies that support family life and self-improvement. For instance, special time off is granted to care for family members during emergencies or for continuing education.

What advice would you give to potential employees?

There is still a lot to be done in improving the lives of people in Asia and the Pacific. Bring your passion, energy and expertise to ADB and come make an impact!

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