Asian development lender takes stock as US policy shifts

Asian development lender takes stock as US policy shifts

New infrastructure investments called for Asia and the Pacific growth

"Many developing member countries find it challenging to introduce high-level technologies in their countries due to lack of resources and limited institutional experience", Nakao said, adding that Japan will contribute $40 million over the next two years.

President Takehiko Nakao on Saturday called for further investment in infrastructure and high-level technology to boost economic growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said Saturday Japan will provide $40 million over two years to a fund the Asian Development Bank newly set up to promote high-quality infrastructure development in the region. Overall growth is forecast at 5.7 per cent in 2017 and economies in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam are gaining momentum.

Jaitley will attend the meeting of Board of Governors' of ADB in Yokohama and the Investors' Round Table Session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (Cii) and Kotak Bank in Tokyo.

Japan, one of the leading financial contributors to the ADB, has been promoting "quality" infrastructure, while calling for more action to address health risks and promote disaster prevention.

The unstated backdrop to the meeting is Japan's continued strong role in the ADB at a time when the administration of US President Donald Trump has adopted an "America first" stance and China is pushing ahead with its own infrastructure initiatives.

Aso's remarks came as China's increasing presence in infrastructure finance has alarmed some Japanese policymakers, who worry that Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) may overshadow the Japan-U.S. -led ADB.

Aso welcomed moves to reform purchasing procedures to "put more emphasis on quality".

The ADB expects large infrastructure-building needs totaling $26 trillion by 2030 as economic expansion continues in the fast-growing region.

The funds will be transferred over the next two years to the ADB's newly established High-Level Technology Fund, which is created to help with cutting-edge projects in Asia in fields such as clean energy and transportation. The current level of spending is below US$900 billion. That raises questions about how to increase financing and make it as effective as possible.

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