Notes on the 49th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank, Frankfurt (May 2016)


As the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approaches its 50th anniversary, its relevance is challenged by the enormity and the diversity of the region it serves and, many would add, by the advent of the parallel Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) dominated by China.

At the 49th Annual Meeting held in Frankfurt Chancellor Angela Merkel commended the Asian community for Asia’s enormous progress, and reminded that “Germany shows that growth and energy use can be decoupled”.

Draghi, Kuroda and Rajan: Central bankers doing things differently. Commercial bankers not doing much at all?

ADB and AIIB focus on infrastructure projects but the limitations of their financing were laid bare. Can the private savings glut be reallocated? Can the private sector be better engaged?

The threat of climate change on Asia will not let up to press a compelling case for a new focus. Technology changes in the world of finance upset the established ways. Time indeed for Europe and Asia to work on “cooperating for sustainability”.