ISLAMABAD-The Asian Development Bank’s projects, programmes and other development support for its developing members in Asia and the Pacific amounted to $33.74 billion in 2019, underscoring ADB’s strong commitment to its vision of a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region. ADB’s Annual Report 2019, provides a comprehensive account of the operational and financial results of ADB in 2019—the first full year of implementation of the bank’s long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030. Pakistan had received $3.192 billion as loans, grants cofinancing in last year. The country had taken $2.197 billion as loan and grants and $987.8 million as co-financing in 2019.

According to the report, the ADB had provided an additional $200 million in financing to Pakistan in 2019, for the government’s social protection program, the Benazir Income Support Program. The program supports the income of more than 5 million poor families across the country and has so far disbursed over $3.6 billion in cash transfers to improve their living conditions. ADB’s support for this, which began in 2013, has enabled the enrollment of over 855,000 women beneficiaries to the program. In Pakistan, decisive policy measures helped reduce large macroeconomic imbalances and narrow the current account deficit in fiscal year 2019, although growth as constrained due to weaker economic activity. The ADB had also extended a total of $1.8 billion to Pakistan to support key economic, energy, and trade reforms in 2019. According to the report, the $1.8 billion includes a $1 billion special policy-based loan approved in December as part of international efforts, led by the International Monetary Fund, to support Pakistan’s economic reforms and stabilize the country’s economy after a major deterioration in its fiscal and financial position.

It is the first time ADB has used this lending modality. The package aims to help Pakistan address the root causes of its chronic fiscal crisis, diversify avenues to trade, enhance competitiveness, and reform its energy sector.

ADB approved a $235 million loan for a bus rapid transit system in Karachi City. In partnership with the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, ADB also committed $9 million to support the preparation and engineering design of urban projects that will improve the quality of life for about 3.5 million people in at least five cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The bank also committed $500 million to introduce important tariff and tax-related policy reforms that will bolster Pakistan’s export industries and increase their competitiveness. The investment will also strengthen key trade facilitating institutions.

During 2019, the bank secured 13 new transaction advisory mandates in Pakistan, Palau, the Philippines, the PRC, and Uzbekistan. These mandates include the development of information and communication technology facilities, transport infrastructure, a health-care facility, solar power plants, the rehabilitation of public schools, and the long-term operations and management of district heating facilities and water supply and sanitation services. Sector-level evaluations examined ADB’s support for Pakistan’s power sector from 2005 to 2017, which totaled $6.2 billion, and Indonesia’s finance sector from 2005 to 2018, which totaled about $2 billion.

These evaluations provided evidence to help ADB continue to improve project design, operations, and development outcomes.

To respond to COVID-19, on 13 April this year, ADB approved a $20 billion package to finance wide-ranging actions and programs to help its developing members address the impacts of the pandemic. New commitments in 2019 included $21.64 billion in loans, grants, investments, and guarantees from ADB’s own resources to support the growth and development plans of its developing members. Disbursements in 2019—a key indicator of successful project implementation—reached a record $16.47 billion, a 16.1% increase from 2018.

ADB’s private sector operations in 2019 reached the $3 billion mark for the second consecutive year, reflecting plans to expand private sector investments into new sectors and frontier markets. Cofinancing amounted to $11.86 billion in 2019, with ADB’s private sector operations accounting for $6.98 billion of total cofinancing.

ADB climate financing reached a record high of $6.55 billion in 2019. The bank met its goal of doubling its annual climate investments from $3 billion in 2014 a year ahead of schedule. This highlighted ADB’s strong commitment to climate change action. Strategy 2030 sets a target for cumulative climate financing of $35 billion by 2024 and $80 billion by 2030.

ADB is also on track to meet its Strategy 2030 target of promoting gender equality in at least 75% of its operations.