ADB headquarters in Manila, Philippines
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) --
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Governors has agreed to triple ADB’s capital base from US$55 billion to US$165 billion, giving it much-needed resources to respond to the global economic crisis and to the longer term development needs of the Asia and the Pacific region.
Voting by ADB’s 67 member countries on a fifth general capital increase closed on 29 April, with an overwhelming majority of members endorsing it. The 200% increase is ADB’s largest, and the first since ADB increased its capital by 100% in 1994.
"This substantial increase is a resounding vote of confidence from our shareholders for what we can achieve as a premier development partner in the region," says ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda.
The capital increase decision comes two days before ADB begins its 42nd Annual Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from 2-5 May.
The 200% increase allows ADB to substantially increase its support to countries affected by the global downturn, enabling ADB to provide an additional US$10 billion from its Ordinary Capital Resources over the next few years for crisis-related assistance.
"We must do all we can to prevent the reversal of hard won gains for our region in social and economic development, and in poverty reduction," Mr. Kuroda says.
ADB estimates that the crisis will keep more than 60 million people in developing Asia trapped in absolute poverty this year, and nearly 100 million more in 2010.
The capital increase will also give ADB the financial capability to pursue longer term development priorities in the region. Even before the global economic crisis, funding needs for the region were huge. ADB’s developing member countries face an estimated resource gap of US$53 billion a year for meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
About a quarter of the total population of ADB’s developing member countries have no access to electricity, many have piped water access ratio of less than 20% and access to improved sanitation is as low as 8% in some countries. In addition, more than 30% of the rural populations in the developing countries lack access to all-weather roads.