The FINANCIAL — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Minister for International Development and the Pacific Steven Ciobo, and other high-level officials in Canberra. He signed a new framework for cooperation to reinforce ADB’s partnership with Australia to reduce poverty and achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Asia and the Pacific.
“I am delighted to be signing this partnership agreement with Australia. The country has been a strong partner in tackling the region’s development challenges over the last 50 years,” Mr. Nakao said. “In particular, Australia has strongly supported, through contributions to trust funds and cofinancing, ADB’s work in the Pacific and Southeast Asia in transport and energy, fragile and conflict-affected situations, and private sector development.”
For instance, ADB and Australia have been working together in Papua New Guinea to upgrade highways in highland areas, build small-scale hydro-energy units, and strengthen rural health clinics. Mr. Nakao also highlighted Australia’s long-term support for Nepal. Some 160 public school buildings across the Kathmandu Valley withstood the devastating April 2015 earthquake, having been made more resilient as part of a joint government and ADB school safety program supported by Australia, according to ADB.
The partnership framework with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) signed with Ms. Bishop covers the period from 2016 to 2020. It commits ADB and DFAT to assist developing countries of common interest in Asia and the Pacific. Both parties will work together to facilitate trade and investment, promote international competitiveness, and support private sector growth. The DFAT-ADB partnership will also work to build public awareness and promote transparency of its activities and outcomes.
During his visit, Mr. Nakao also signed an agreement with Kelly O’Dwyer, Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, for Australia’s A$10 million (approximately $7 million) contribution to ADB’s Asia-Pacific Project Preparation Facility. Australia, together with Japan and Canada, strongly supported the setting up of this $73 million multi-donor trust fund, which commenced operations in January 2016. The fund provides additional resources and technical support for the preparation of infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships in developing countries.
Australia is a founding member of ADB and its fifth largest shareholder. It has contributed about $2.5 billion to ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF), making it the ADF’s third largest donor after Japan and the US. Australia has also provided $848 million in cofinancing to date.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.