ADB hoping to raise donor funds despite global woes

The Asian Development Bank said Friday it hoped to raise about $12 billion to fund its key soft loan facility, despite a bleak global economic scenario.

ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda said the expected $12 billion figure was for the next four-year cycle of the Asian Development Fund beginning in 2013.

The four-year cycle ending this year was worth slightly more than 11 billion dollars, he said.

The ADF provides concessional loans to its 67 member countries to fund various projects, from schools and bridges to health clinics and roads, with the aim of improving the lives of the region's poorest.

Kuroda said major negotiations for contributions to the fund were carried out in the past six months, with Japan again emerging as the biggest donor and the ADB waiting for other countries to confirm their pledges.

The final figure will be announced before the ADB holds its annual board of governors meeting in Manila next week.

While donors agreed that there was an urgent need to finance development work around the region, the global economic uncertainty had made it difficult for many to dip into their purses, Kuroda said.

"There are still so many poor people in those low income countries, and they need assistance in infrastructure, healthcare, education and so on," Kuroda said.

"But of course the major donors, the traditional donors, have difficult economic and fiscal situations."

Central bank chiefs as well as key financial officials from the ADB's member countries are to converge in Manila from May 2 to 5.

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