ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa has been reelected to head the multilateral bank for the next five years and vowed to help the Asia and the Pacific region bounce back from the pandemic.

Mr. Asakawa will start his second term on Nov. 24 after a unanimous vote from the ADB Board of Governors. He was elected as ADB’s 10th president on November 2019 and assumed the position on Jan. 17, 2020 to finish the remaining term of his predecessor Takehiko Nakao.

“My vision for the upcoming term is for ADB to serve as the premier development institution for Asia and the Pacific as it supports its developing member countries in recovering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on a renewed path toward the prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future we envisioned in our Strategy 2030,” Mr. Asakawa said.

Under his watch, the ADB launched several facilities to help countries finance their pandemic response and help them cope with the crisis, including its $20-billion comprehensive response package in April of last year and the $9-billion facility rolled out in December 2020 to help governments buy vaccines.

Prior to joining the ADB, Mr. Asakawa was the special advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister and held the position of Minister of Finance for nearly four decades “where he gained extensive and diverse experience in international finance and development.”

He also served as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s chair of the committee on fiscal affairs between 2011 and 2016, where he led global talks on taxation.

Last year, the ADB lent the Philippine government $1.8 billion to beef up its war chest against the coronavirus pandemic and finance additional spending on cash subsidies and healthcare system.

It granted a total of $4.24 billion in new loans in 2020, its highest annual lending for the Philippines so far.

The Manila-based multilateral bank has set a $3.9-billion lending pipeline for the Philippines this year aiming to finance key projects on infrastructure, health, local economic development, and social development. — Beatrice M. Laforga