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ADB secures $12.4 bil. to help Asia's poorest.

MANILA, May 2 Kyodo

Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda said Wednesday the bank has secured $12.4 billion to help Asia's poorest over the next four-year phase of its concessional development fund.

The contributions to the Asian Development Fund, which will cover ADB operations from 2013 to 2016, represent an increase of 11.1 percent in special drawing rights, 9.5 percent in U.S. dollar terms, from the fund's previous four years.

''ADF borrowers face significant development challenges, and have fewer resources of their own to address them. We particularly appreciate the strong support and generosity of our donor countries in view of the difficult challenges many are facing at home themselves,'' Kuroda said at a press conference.

''The replenished ADF will help borrowing countries promote inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth through investment in infrastructure, education, social safety nets and clean and renewable energy, among others,'' Kuroda added.

The funds will also help to narrow the development gaps and rising income inequality and help vulnerable countries cope with shocks such as rising food and fuel prices, natural disasters and conflict, he said.

The ADF will also be used to promote gender mainstreaming, good governance, food security, private-sector development and stronger regional cooperation.

''Special attention will be given to countries affected by conflict and smaller island states with fragile economies,'' he said.

The bank, in a statement, said donors agreed to establish a Disaster Response Facility under the ADF on a pilot basis to support the poorest countries in responding to natural disasters.

''The ADF continues to be a critical source of finance for badly needed economic and social infrastructure improvements,'' the statement added.

Over the next four years, for example, the statement said almost 16,000 kilometers of road are expected to be upgraded, opening up new economic opportunities and better access to social services for more than 20 million people.

''More than 2.5 million students will benefit from school improvement programs or other direct support to the education sector. And many new households will be connected to electricity (more than 340,000), served with water supply (560,000) and sanitation (440,000),'' the statement continued.

''ADF support will go a long way in helping countries like Bangladesh provide critically needed social services to our citizens,'' Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said.

Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of ADF disbursements and was one of six ADF recipient countries who participated in the negotiations for the new funding.

More than 30 donor-countries have contributed to the ADF.

Japan, Australia and Britain are among the biggest donors, the ADB said.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:May 7, 2012
Words:435
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