Asian Development Bank wants capital tripled: president


Posted at Feb 19 2009 02:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 19 2009 10:12 PM

TOKYO - The Asian Development Bank hopes to secure a three-fold capital boost in May so it can help emerging nations through the economic crisis and support environmental projects, its head said Thursday.

"Given the credit crunch in the international financial market, it is all the more important to ensure developing countries have access to foreign funds," ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters here.

"We need to increase the ADB's capital by a large margin as soon as possible," he said.

The Manila-based development bank hopes its shareholders will approve the proposed increase in funding at its annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia on May 4-5, he said.

It would be the ADB's first capital boost in 15 years and the largest since it was set up in 1966 with a mission to lend to developing Asian economies that might struggle to raise affordable funds on their own.

If the ADB's capital is tripled, the bank could lend 13 billion dollars a year, enough to offer assistance in new areas such as tackling environmental problems and the current economic crisis, Kuroda said.

The fresh capital would come from the ADB's shareholder nations. Japan and the United States are the biggest contributors with shares of 15.6 percent each in the bank, which has more than 60 member countries.

Japanese officials said last month that member countries agreed on the need for an urgent capital boost for the ADB.