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MANILA (Kyodo) A senior adviser of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was to assume the helm of the Asian Development Bank on Tuesday with the task of licking poverty in the region and spurring regional economic growth.

Haruhiko Kuroda, 60, takes over the reins of the Manila-based financial institution from Tadao Chino, who ended his six-year term Monday.

Kuroda was Koizumi’s adviser on international monetary issues and a professor at the graduate school of economics at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo before he was picked to be the ADB’s eighth president.

Kuroda has his hands full — from alleviating poverty in the region to reforming the international financial institution, which has been criticized for excessive bureaucracy and secrecy.

The Asia-Pacific region now faces a number of new challenges that could blur the bank’s vision of a poverty-free region. These involve global economic and political uncertainties, including global security concerns, conflicts, natural calamities and epidemics like SARS, bird flu and AIDS.

Kuroda faces the task of helping to reduce the region’s vulnerabilities to these external shocks.

“ADB faces increasing pressures to respond to some of the most critical challenges of our time, including poverty, global security, environmental sustainability and economic uncertainty,” a recent ADB policy paper says.

In early 1999, the bank adopted poverty reduction as its “overarching goal.”

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