HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has secured Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 7.9 billion ($12.4 billion) for the next four-year phase of its concessional development fund that will provide critical financial support to fight poverty in the Asia and Pacific region.
The contributions to the Asian Development Fund (ADF), which will cover ADB operations from 2013 to 2016, represent an increase of 11.1 per cent in SDR (9.5 per cent in US dollar terms) from the fund’s previous four-year period.
“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,” said ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda.
The Asian Development Fund will help improve the lives of millions of Asia’s poorest through inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth, including improved access to education, social safety nets and the development of clean and renewable energy.
They will also seek to narrow the development gaps and rising income inequality, and help vulnerable countries cope with shocks such as rising food prices and fuel prices, natural disasters and conflict.
The Asian Development Fund will also be used to promote gender mainstreaming, good governance, food security, private sector development, and stronger regional cooperation. Special attention
will also be given to countries affected by conflict and smaller island states with fragile economies.
Donors agreed to establish a Disaster Response Facility under Asian Development Fund on a pilot basis to support 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.
Over the next four-year period, for example, almost 16,000 kilometers of roads are expected to be upgraded, opening up new economic opportunities and better access to social services for over 20 million people in the region.
More than 2.5 million students will benefit from school improvement programmes or other direct support to the education sector. And many new households will be connected to electricity (over 340,000), served with water supply (560,000) and sanitation (440,000).
The ADF support will go a long way in providing critically needed social services