Manila, April 25 (IANS) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) operations exceeded the $30 billion mark for the first time in its 50-year history as regional demand for development finance and knowledge continues to grow, a report said on Tuesday.
According to the new report, ADB's total lending in 2016, including cofinancing, reached $31.70 billion, or an 18 per cent increase from 2015, Xinhua news agency reported.
The total includes $17.47 billion in approvals for loans and grants, $169 million for technical assistance and $14.06 billion for cofinancing, which increased by a record 31 per cent over 2015, the report said.
Disbursements, a key indicator for successful project implementation, also reached a new high of $12.26 billion in 2016.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao said the spike in its development financing to Asia and the Pacific "reflects our strong commitment to improving the lives of the people in the region".
The 2016 annual report also reviewed the significant economic transformation in Asia and the Pacific over the past 50 years and the role played by ADB to support the region's development.
The report noted that while the region's economic growth and success in reducing poverty have exceeded the most optimistic forecasts, there remain significant challenges to be addressed.
"We cannot be complacent," Nakao said. "There are still 330 million people living in absolute poverty across Asia and the Pacific. A lack of infrastructure continues to limit economic growth, inhibit poverty reduction, and restrict improvements to quality of life."
The ADB estimates that the region requires $1.7 trillion a year to meet its infrastructure financing needs.
The Manila-based ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.