ADB to step up private sector operations in vulnerable countries, emerging sectors

Manila [Philippines], Jan 14 (ANI): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will sharpen the focus of its private sector operations on complex, innovative, smaller and sometimes riskier projects in challenging markets and sectors. It will also enhance efforts to address climate change and support women under an operational plan that will guide ADB's non-sovereign assistance over the next five years. The operational plan for ADB's private sector operations approved on Tuesday notes that a healthy private sector is a key to meeting persistent development challenges. In Asia and the Pacific, these include financing gaps that thwart the construction of modern infrastructure, slow the creation and growth of businesses, and suppress household savings by excluding poor communities and particularly women from the banking system. "ADB's private sector operations will lead by example to bridge these gaps and meet the challenges of our rapidly changing region," said Director General of ADB's Private Sector Operations Department Mike Barrow. "We will champion new products, financing structures and companies, and expand our work in emerging sectors such as agri-business, education and health while sharpening our already substantial focus on addressing climate change," he said in a statement. "We will redouble our efforts in countries facing unique development challenges like those in fragile and conflict-affected situations and small island developing states, and will focus heavily on investments that benefit women," added Borrow. A larger share of private sector projects will be higher risk, innovative and strongly developmental. Smaller projects with high development impact will be encouraged. To manage risks and ensure financial sustainability, lending and investment decisions will be based on a thorough understanding of risks and rewards. Smaller deal sizes and a more diverse range of countries, sectors and clients will help to manage portfolio risk. ADB will prioritise development impact and pursue quality of investment over volume while managing risk effectively, said Barrow. "This is vital in our renewed focus on the region's most vulnerable countries where smaller and perhaps riskier projects in areas like tourism or agri-business can have an outsized development impact." Private sector operations will support the priorities of ADB's Strategy 2030. The operational plan's core sectoral objectives include clean energy, environmental infrastructure such as waste management, low-carbon transport, accessible information and communications technologies, agri-business, quality education and health services, and a vibrant financial sector. ADB said it will build initiatives to support the incubation of cutting-edge technologies for the region. (ANI)