By Sharachchandra Bhandary
Yokohama: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) – a multilateral development agency founded to contribute towards lessening poverty and building prosperity of the region through physical infrastructure development – has begun celebrations of 50 years of its operations with pomp and spledour at the pictureseque city of Yokohama.
On the occasion of the 50 years of its establishment, the Board of Governors of ADB are discussing development issues under ‘Building Together the Prosperity of Asia’ here. Over 3000 participants from 67 member countries are discussing overall development of the entire region.
The four-day seminar programme provides a vibrant platform to discuss economic, finance and development issues of current interests to ADB stakeholders. The topical discussion would be on Asia’s opportunities for the next 50 years, resilient cities, public private partnership progress and challenges in Asia and the Pacific, women leadership for inclusive and livable cities, transcending the middle income challenges and technology for development, among others.
The partnership between Nepal and ADB since its establishment in 1967 has consolidated the mutual cooperation in reducing country poverty, enhancing vocational skills and technical know-how and addressing natural calamities and emergency situation besides education, health and drinking water.
The Bank has so far invested billions of rupees to execute small, middle and mega development projects since 50 years backs in its bid to support Nepal to free from vicious circle of poverty. ADB has become instrumental in Nepal’s developmental efforts ranging from small farmer development to maga projects like the Melamchi Drinking Water Project. This flagship project of ADB is a matter of pride and prestige for Nepal as well as ADB which being concluded by this year.
Since the inception of ADB and partnership with Nepal we have received billions of rupees soft loan, technical assistance and grant assistance for around 200 development projects.
Among the ongoing projects in operations with ADB technical support and funding are Melamchi Drinking Water, Hydropower Investment, South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation, Roads Improvement, School Sector Improvement, Kathmandu Upatyaka Drinking Water Supply Improvement, Electricity Extension and Transmission Capacity Expansion and Engineering Higher Education Expansion.
A high-level Nepali delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara will apprise the international community of Nepal’s development aspirations, contemporary political development, local level elections and development projects and make efforts for further cooperation.
A separate meeting of the Finance Ministers of SAARC countries is also taking place in Yokohama on the same occasion. The meeting would discuss the agendas to make SAARC functional and take stock the programmes SAARC announced earlier on free trade, energy, road network and connectivity.
ADB is owned by 67 members including 48 from the Asia-pacific region. Nepal as a founder member of the Bank has invested 0.03 % of the total capital of ADB. Though Nepal’s stake relatively low, ADB has attached utmost priority to Nepal’ s overall development which has been lauded by peoples of every section of Nepali society.
On Nepal’s 50 years partnership with ADB and its role, former Finance Minister and Foreign Affairs Minster Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said, “We need ADB as a reliable partner for the development of Nepal”. Lauding ADB cooperation in development infrastructure of Nepal, Dr Mahat said the importance of multilateral agencies such as ADB is high when we need more development cooperation for country’s prosperity. Another former Finance Minster Surendra Pandey commented, “ADB cooperation is imperative for us to attain double digit economic growth rate”.
50 years of Nepal-ADB partnership: Building together prosperity of Asia
By Sharachchandra Bhandary