Takehiko Nakao outlines 10 priorities in the Asian Development Bank’s key strategy to alleviate poverty in the region.
Strategy 2030 will renew our strong commitment to eradicate extreme poverty in the region and expand our vision to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.
These aspirations will be aligned with the international agenda, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Recognising different conditions in our developing member countries, we will pursue differentiated approaches. The country partnership strategy will continue to be the primary platform for defining ADB’s operational focus in each country.
I would like to highlight 10 priorities in Strategy 2030.
First, ADB will tackle remaining poverty and increasing inequalities. We will help create quality jobs, promote secondary and tertiary education, expand universal health care, and strengthen social protection programmes. We will focus on lagging areas and pockets of poverty even in middle-income countries.
Second, we will help accelerate progress in gender equality. We will continue to incorporate gender elements when we design and implement projects and programmes. We will support gender-focused projects in education, health, and financial inclusion. We will promote gender equality in decision making through our projects and technical assistance.
When I was in Bangladesh this February, I visited an ADB-supported ICT laboratory at a rural school. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of girls and boys to study ICT. One girl stood up and said she wanted to be a satellite engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh was proud when I shared this story with her.
Third, we will scale up our support to combat climate change, build climate and disaster resilience, and enhance environmental sustainability. ADB will help countries to achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. We will invest in the conservation and restoration of natural capital. We will improve the water-food-energy nexus.
Fourth, we will build livable cities that are competitive, green, resilient, and inclusive. ADB will support multimodal mass public transport systems in cities, clean water and sanitation, and urban health facilities. ADB will help cities expand sources of funding and enhance inclusive, integrated, and participatory urban planning.
Fifth, we will promote rural development and food security. ADB will focus on developing agricultural value chains from farm-to-market through investments in rural roads, storage facilities, and mobile connectivity. We will foster advanced technologies in farming.
Sixth, we will strengthen governance. ADB will support public sector management reforms through policy-based lending and dialogue. ADB will help governments enhance their capacity to prepare, implement, and operate high-quality projects. And we will help raise standards globally for environmental and social safeguards, sound financial management, and anti-corruption.
Seventh, we will foster regional cooperation and integration. We will build on our experience in sub-regional cooperation initiatives since the 1990s in Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. We will promote regional public goods such as transportation and logistical networks, and protection against communicable diseases. We will support a regional approach to energy security, education, tourism, and financial stability. ADB will cooperate with existing and emerging international and regional initiatives.
Eighth, we will mobilise private sector resources to meet the region’s huge development financing needs. Our private sector operations help fill market gaps and promote private sector participation in infrastructure and other development finance. We will further scale up our private sector operations, widen their geographic coverage including new and frontier markets, and expand operations in social sectors such as health and education.
We will also continue to promote the effective use of public–private partnerships. We will enhance resource mobilisation through credit enhancement operations and co-financing with bilateral and multilateral partners.
Ninth, we will further strengthen our role as a provider and facilitator of knowledge. I strongly believe that ADB’s value addition is combining finance with knowledge, whether tacit or explicit. We will develop and deliver integrated solutions that extend across sectors. ADB’s knowledge work will strengthen the network of scholars and think tanks in Asia and beyond, and offer Asian perspectives.
Tenth, implementing the new strategy will require a stronger, better, and faster ADB. We will continue to use our financial resources efficiently and creatively. We will invest in our workforce, promote diversity including gender balance, and ensure a respectful workplace. We will expand our presence on the ground. We will dramatically modernise business processes to speed up our services to clients.
Takehiko Nakao is the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).