The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Kelly Bird as its new Country Director for the Philippines.
Mr. Bird will lead ADB operations in the Philippines and supervise the effective implementation of ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan 2018-2020 and the Country Partnership Strategy 2018-2022, currently being prepared, which aims to help the country achieve sustainable infrastructure development, human capital development and better access to jobs, and improved regional development and finance, according to ADB.
“ADB has a special relationship with the Philippines, its host country,” said Mr. Bird. “I feel both privileged and excited with my appointment to the Philippines Country Office (PhCO). We have a dedicated team and we are committed to working closely with Filipinos and the government to support the country in sustaining its impressive growth momentum and creating a caring society.”
ADB’s operations in the Philippines have increased resources for more project-based lending, with strong support provided to the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development program. Apart from infrastructure support, ADB’s priorities in the Philippines include inclusive growth as well as addressing income and regional disparities in line with the government’s development strategy under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.
Prior to Mr. Bird’s appointment to PhCO, he was Director of Public Management, Financial Sector, and Trade Division at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department since 2014 and was also Principal Economist for the department with almost 12 years of experience working in the Philippines.
Before joining ADB in 2006, Mr. Bird served as a policy adviser to the Indonesian government for USAID and World Bank projects for 8 years. He also worked on projects for the World Bank and USAID in trade, investment, employment, and competition policy in numerous countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, and several southern African economies.
He holds a doctorate in Economics from the Australian National University, where he also earned his master’s degree in economics. He took his undergraduate degrees in laws and commerce from the University of Otago in New Zealand.
Mr. Bird replaces the outgoing Country Director Richard Bolt, who served in the Philippines from 2014.
The Philippines is a founding member of ADB and is host to the bank’s headquarters since it was set up in 1966. ADB has provided $18.3 billion in total loan assistance to the Philippines, comprising $17.2 billion for the public sector and $1.1 billion for the private sector. ADB has also been supporting the country through knowledge work, with $357.1 million in total approved technical assistance and grants.