ADB assistance increased by 42 percent in 2009: Report

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Manila (Philippines), Apr.22 (ANI): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a record 16.1 billion dollars in financing operations, a 42 percent increase over the 11.3 billion dollars approved the previous year, according to ADB's 2009 Annual Report, released ahead of the 43rd Annual Meeting to be held 1-4 May in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The increase was made possible by ADB's fifth general capital increase, which tripled ADB's capital base from 55 billion dollars to 165 billion dollars, the biggest in ADB history and the first in 15 years. While economic recovery is under way, ADB has estimated that about 71 million people living on less than two dollars a day (54 million of them living on less then 1.25 dollars a day) could have escaped poverty if growth rates had stayed at 2007 levels.

"The capital increase enabled ADB to respond quickly to the needs of developing member countries by significantly scaling up our assistance," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said in the report. "The global economic crisis presented developing Asia and the Pacific with one of the most challenging years since the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis."

Overall operations of 16.1 billion dollars in 2009 comprised loans and grants of 14.3 billion dollars, guarantees amounting to 397 million dollars, 850 million dollars for a trade finance facilitation program, 220 million dollars in equity investments, and 267 million dollars in technical assistance. The loans included 2.5 billion dollars in assistance under the Countercyclical Support Facility - a short-term, budget support instrument to help crisis-affected members. ADB also mobilized cofinancing amounting to 3.2 billion dollars.

The top three recipients of assistance were Viet Nam, Indonesia, and the People's Republic of China.

About 81 percent of total assistance went to ADB's five core operational areas of infrastructure, finance, education, environment, and regional cooperation. About 65 percent of ADB investments were allocated to infrastructure and about 35 percent supported environmental sustainability.

ADB's Clean Energy Program has invested 2.8 billion dollars over the last two years in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology deployment that encourage its developing member countries to move toward low-carbon energy generation and utilization.

ADB joined other multilateral development banks in establishing the Climate Investment Funds to support clean technology, climate resilience, forest protection, and renewable energy in low-income countries.

"ADB looks forward to working with shareholders and partners to spread the benefits of recovery more widely as the region emerges from a time of crisis," President Kuroda said, "with renewed determination to tackle the causes of poverty and raise Asia's standards of living, especially for the poor." (ANI)

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