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3,000 participants expected at ADB meeting next month


By Chino S. Leyco

CLARK, Pampanga — Some 3,000 delegates are expected to troop to Manila for the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) scheduled in the first week of May.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the ADB member-countries, bankers, representatives from the private sector, civil society, academe, multilateral institutions and the media are expected to attend the 51st ADB meetings from May 3 to 6.

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Anchored on the theme “Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Development,” the Department of Finance (DOF) said that among the issues to be discussed are globalization, jobs in Asia, and financial technology.

Private sector mobilization in terms of funding infrastructure is also part of the agenda along with climate change, opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and technology amid aging populations.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who chairs the ADB Board of Governors this year, led the third leg of the press launch of the Philippines’ hosting of the Bank’s annual meeting at the ASEAN Convention Center here Friday.

In the Clark leg of the ADB press launch, Dominguez was joined by ADB Board Secretary Woochong Um, together with ADB South Asia Director General Ramesh Subramaniam, ADB Country Director Kelly Bird and ADB Principal Country Specialist Joven Balbosa.

According to Dominguez, the ADB meeting will focus this year on how to “make progress more evenly felt throughout the entire membership of the ADB.”

Dominguez said that between now and its 51st Annual Meeting in May, the ADB will be holding a series of fora and conferences meant to examine the changing global and regional challenges and, more importantly, how the bank can play an “even more effective role” in helping attain inclusive growth.

Um said “these are exciting times” for this year’s host, the Philippines, which has maintained its steady pace of economic growth, with ADB projecting its gross domestic product (GDP) to accelerate to 6.8 percent in 2018 “driven by increased investment.”

He said the ADB is contributing to the Philippine government’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth by “helping improve infrastructure, regional development, public service delivery, youth employment and education, and also minimizing disaster risks, and expanding financial inclusion.”

Um pointed out that last year, loans provided by ADB to the Philippines reached a record-high $1.08 billion, with majority of the assistance going to infrastructure-related activities, especially in Mindanao.

ADB, which has been based in Manila since its inception in 1966, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

This multilateral lending institution, which has 67 members, is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region.

Aside from this year’s event, 15 previous Annual Meetings were also held in Manila, with the most recent one in 2012 and an earlier small-scale meeting in 2003.

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