More than 30 donors have pledged $12.4 billion to replenish a regional fund that provides concessional loans to Asia's poorest countries, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday.
Haruhiko Kuroda, president of the Manila-based bank, said the new money would finance the operations of the Asian Development Fund (ADF) years from 2013 to 2016 amid the risk of a weak global economy.
"We particularly appreciate the strong support and generosity of our donor countries in view of the difficult challenges many are facing at home themselves," he told a press conference at the start of the ADB's annual Board of Governors meeting in Manila.
"The replenished ADF will help bor¬rowing countries promote inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth through investment in infrastructure, education, social safety nets and clean and renewable energy among others," he added.
The ADF finances economic and social infrastructure improvements in the region. "Over the next four-year period, for example, almost 16,000 kilometers of road are expected to be upgraded, opening up new economic opportunities and better access to so¬cial services for over 20 million people," the bank said.
More than 2.5 million students would benefit from school improve¬ment programs, more than 340,000 households would be connected to electricity and nearly 1 million served with water supply and sanitation, the bank added. The bank said the donor countries, which include Japan, Aus¬tralia, Britain, the United States and Germany, have also agreed to establish a disaster response facility under the ADB on a pilot basis to support poor countries in responding to natural disasters. (DPA)