THE Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) said yesterday that its loan operations reached a record high last year amid the strong demand for infrastructure support.
In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral institution said that its operations reached the $30-billion mark last year — the first in 50 years — as regional demand for development finance and knowledge, particularly on infrastructure, continues to grow.
Based on its 2016 Annual Report, ABD’s total lending, including co-financing, reached $31.7 billion, an 18 percent increase from the previous year.
The total included also $17.47 billion in approvals for loans and grants, $169 million for technical assistance, and $14.06 billion for co-financing, which increased by a record 31 percent from a year before.
Disbursements, a key indicator for successful project implementation, also reached a new high of $12.26 billion in 2016.
Private sector operations reached $2.5 billion for only the second time in ADB’s history, which the bank said reflected its long-term strategy to significantly boost support for private enterprise to create more high quality jobs and increase living standards across Asia and the Pacific.
Apart from its own funds, ADB’s private sector operations also generated a record $5.84 billion in cofinancing — a $1.2 billion increase from 2015 — which included $238 million in official cofinancing to support non-sovereign operations.
“The increase in our development financing to Asia and the Pacific reflects our strong commitment to improving the lives of the people in the region,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said.
“As ADB celebrates 50 years of providing development assistance, we will strive even harder to meet the changing needs of our developing member countries,” he added.
ADB earlier estimated that the region requires $1.7 trillion a year to meet its infrastructure financing needs.
The bank also said there are other pressing challenges such as climate change, health, education, and gender equality.
To help address these development needs, ADB said it has scaled up its operations and expanded its financing capacity through the merger of its Asian Development Fund (ADF) lending operations with the Ordinary Capital Resources (OCR) balance sheet, which became effective on 1 January this year.
OCR equity almost tripled, from $17.3 billion to $48.1 billion, as $30.8 billion of ADF loans and other assets were transferred from the ADF. The merger is expected to increase ADB’s annual loan and grant approvals by over 50 percent to more than $20 billion by 2020.
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