Manila – Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa will run for re-election for a five-year term starting in November, the Manila-based organization said Monday, with the next chief tasked with supporting the region’s developing economies hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Asakawa, a former Japanese vice finance minister for international affairs who took office in January last year to serve the remaining term of his predecessor, is most likely to win, according to sources close to the ADB.
“If re-elected, I commit to strengthening the ADB’s focus on supporting developing member countries’ recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, to deepening our partnerships with all ADB members and peer organizations, and to ensuring staff well-being,” Asakawa, 63, was quoted as saying in an ADB press release.
In Tokyo, Finance Minister Taro Aso has been quick to express his support for a second term for Asakawa, a former top Japanese currency diplomat.
Following the announcement, Aso issued a statement, praising Asakawa for having “demonstrated his superb leadership” at the bank, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic soon after assuming office.
Aso, who is also Japan’s deputy prime minister, said he believed the ADB “should continue to play a central role under (the) strong leadership of Mr. Asakawa.”
Asakawa has been serving the remaining term of Takehiko Nakao, who stepped down in January last year after leading the ADB since April 2013. The current tenure ends on Nov. 23.
Under Asakawa’s term, the ADB decided last year to provide $20 billion, including concessional and grant resources, to help its developing members affected by the pandemic.
The top post of the ADB, established to eradicate extreme poverty and support development in the Asia-Pacific region in 1966, has been held by a Japanese since its founding, as Tokyo is the biggest financial contributor along with the United States.
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