The 51st Annual Board of Governors’ Meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB) was held in its Headquarters in Manila from 3-6 May 2018. Mr. Miftah Ismail Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs was to lead a five member delegation but because of his pressing commitments at home due to the ongoing Budget Session, he was unable to attend. Therefore Secretary Economic Affairs Division Mr. Ghazanfar Abbas Gilani led the Pakistan delegation as Governor.

In addition to making country statement at the opening session of Board of Governors’ meeting on 5th May 2018, Pakistan delegation attended Governors’ plenary session where the ADB strategy 2030 was launched and had very productive bilateral meetings with the Vice President of ADB. In his closing address to the Board of Governors session the President of ADB Mr. Takehiko Nakao made inter alia three observations about the world economy namely (i) The economic outlook remains positive, with the region well positioned to sustain its growth momentum. However, there are several risks including a concern about inward looking policies. (ii) A significant factor driving future growth is advancements in technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and ‘internet of things.’ This will require proactive and comprehensive actions from governments and ADB to adapt and capitalize on opportunities, while minimizing the risks. (iii) The world economic center of gravity is shifting towards Asia and the Pacific. We should take these opportunities in a positive way while recognizing that challenges remain. He also made 16 points about ADB as an institution and its operations based on the key issues raised by the participating Governors.

Pakistan delegation also held fruitful bilateral meetings with delegations from the UK, Canada, JICA, EIB and participated proactively in the SAARC Finance Ministers meeting organized by the SAARC Secretariat. The Governor of Nepal who chaired the session in the presence of Secretary General of SAARC, expressed his hope of early holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Pakistan while making his comments after the country statement of Pakistan.

Reportedly, in his media briefing, ADB Director General of Private Sector Operation Department (PSOD) Michael Barrow stated that ADB was considering opening a desk at its country office in Islamabad to further push the private sector investment by mitigating the negative perception of Pakistan among foreign investors. This is in line with Pakistan’s demand to ADB to further strengthen its resident missions to oversee the operations of projects more effectively and augment the locally deficient capacities. Mr. Barrow further said, Pakistan had an excellent market, especially in much needed power sector and infrastructure. He added he had lived in Pakistan for a while and found no reality in the international negative perception about the country. However, he felt that the Government of Pakistan had to showcase more success stories in order to make the ADB’s mission successful.

As part of the delegation, Ambassador attended main events of the meeting including the dinner hosted by President Duterte of Philippines for all the delegates at the end of the conference.

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