The Asian Development Bank has unanimously elected Masatsugu Asakawa, Japan’s former Vice Minister for International Affairs and special advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, as its tenth president. Asakawa will assume office on 17 January 2020, taking over from outgoing president Takehiko Nakao.
Under his leadership, the 53-year-old regional development bank may relook its policies on granting aid to high- and medium-income borrowers like China. If so, this would be a complete turnaround from the ADB’s approach under Nakao, who had said in April that he still saw value in lending to China.
At the same time, Asakawa, 61, has sent a clear signal that he intends to keep going with the ADB’s Strategy 2030, which gives social sectors a prominent place and aims to increase the bank’s climate financing target to $80 billion from 2019 to 2030.
He said on Friday that he hoped to boost ADB efforts to help low-income countries invest more in human capital, address gender inequality that hampers growth, and mitigate the damage incurred from climate change.
“I don’t agree with people who say economic growth and environment-friendly policies cannot coexist,” he said, pointing out that poverty is one of the reasons behind climate change and environmental destruction. “Poverty and environmental issues are intertwined. We need to find a way to address both issues.”
If the ADB’s Strategy 2030 pans out as intended, it will play a role in creating higher-value jobs in developing Asian countries. The bank has stated in its operational plans that it considers quality jobs to be the best way of lifting people out of poverty, and it places a high priority on investments that will lead to the generation of such jobs.
Image source: Business World.com