YOKOHAMA – Japan pledged Saturday to provide $40 million via the Asian Development Bank to help developing nations introduce advanced technology in response to growing infrastructure needs in the region.
In a speech delivered at an annual gathering of the ADB in Yokohama, Finance Minister Taro Aso said infrastructure should also increase connectivity in an “open, transparent and nonexclusive” manner.
The ADB expects large infrastructure needs totaling $26 trillion by 2030 as economic expansion continues in the fast-growing region.
The $40 million promised by Japan over the next two years will go to the ADB’s newly created trust fund designed to assist with clean energy and transportation projects, Japanese officials said.
The Manila-based lender has a long history of helping build infrastructure in developing countries but its role and relevance are increasingly being tested by the launch of a Beijing-led infrastructure investment bank.
Japan and the United States, the two leading financial contributors to the ADB, have not joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank amid concerns about governance and transparency — though most Western nations are participating in the bank, which was launched in 2015.
In an apparent attempt to dismiss the growing rivalry between the two regional banks, ADB President Takehiko Nakao has expressed a willingness to cooperate with the AIIB, saying that it is not a “rival.”
Aso, chairing this year’s event, said economic growth has contributed to alleviating poverty in Asia, with the ADB serving as the region’s “family doctor.”
“We cannot be complacent,” he told the gathering, as natural disasters and pandemics pose risks in a region that must also address income inequality, aging and volatility in capital flows.
Japan hopes the ADB will maintain its focus on infrastructure projects while also allocating more resources to improve health care and disaster prevention, Aso said.
Finance ministers, central bankers and other delegates from the ADB’s 67 member states and regions were in the city for a host of meetings due to wrap up Sunday.