• By The Financial District


The Philippines has called on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to substantially expand its loan portfolio in the next five years to support the swift recovery of its developing member countries from the global economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, even if this involves increasing the multilateral lender’s capital base.

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Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that “as the largest and most experienced development institution in the Asia Pacific region, the ADB must effectively assist developing economies to bounce back as fast as the developed countries.”

“However, this cannot be achieved if the bank maintains a 'business-as-usual' approach. As I have suggested long before COVID-19 struck, the Asian Development Bank must continue reinventing itself and realigning its programs to meet new realities and to stay relevant amidst the fast-changing landscape,” Secretary Dominguez said during the ADB Governors’ Seminar, in response to the query on how the ADB can further support the sustainable recovery of its member-countries.

The Governors’ Seminar, held virtually late Monday afternoon (May 3, Manila time), is part of the series of events leading up to the 54th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors on Wednesday (May 5).

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“In order to be responsive to critical needs, the ADB must level up. Specifically, there is a need for the bank to seriously consider a substantial expansion in its loan portfolio in the next five-year period. This will effectively support its member-countries recovery even if this brings forward the need for a capital increase,” said Secretary Dominguez, who is governor for the Philippines in the ADB Board.

Secretary Dominguez pointed out that to achieve the world’s safer recovery from the pandemic, there should be just and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to include lower-income countries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive global economic impact. Unfortunately, the response to the crisis has been uneven,” he said.

Secretary Dominguez noted that developed countries have been able to extend much higher levels of financial support to their people and to undertake mass inoculations at a faster pace than the developing economies because of their vast financial resources.

“The Philippines, therefore, supports the strong call for developed countries, multilateral institutions, and global organizations to join forces in ensuring the accessibility of these life-saving doses to lower-income economies,” Secretary Dominguez said.

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On top of ensuring the fair and even distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, Secretary Dominguez also underscored the need to assist developing countries in accessing financial resources to boost their healthcare systems, build resiliency against new virus outbreaks, and support the recovery of sectors severely affected by the lingering contagion.

He also cited the need to rebuild economies to adjust to the new challenges arising from the pandemic, which involves, among others, accelerating the use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, and substantially increasing investments in clean and renewable energy (RE) to address climate change and ensure the world’s sustainable recovery.

“This crisis is a great opportunity for the ADB to continue to demonstrate that it has indeed become a more responsive, agile, and flexible institution as envisioned in its Strategy 2030,” Secretary Dominguez said, referring to the ADB’s long-term corporate strategy t0 2030, which sets the course of the Bank’s efforts to respond effectively to the Asia-Pacific region’s changing needs.


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