On February 15, the Committee brought together 17 members and friends for an intimate roundtable discussion with Thierry de Longuemar, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President for Finance and Risk Management at the ADB North American Relations Office in Washington DC. With over 28 years of experience in both multilateral financial institutions and private banking, Mr. de Longuemar oversees the Office of Risk Management and ADB’s extensive funding and investment activities.
During his remarks, Vice President de Longuemar outlined ADB’s priorities for 2013 and beyond, including the challenge of finding sufficient funds to contribute to the expected $8 trillion Asia needs to sustain its growth and the $290 billion needed for regional infrastructure. He described ADB’s desire to offer “Financing + Knowledge + Leverage” and to catalyze knowledge-sharing among countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. de Longuemar also explained ADB’s work to adapt to meet future needs, particularly by expanding its private sector operations above the current level of $6.6 million and to provide support for local currency bond issuances.
Participants asked about ADB’s growing support for private sector projects in infrastructure, transportation, water, telecommunications, and energy. They inquired about the criteria the ADB uses to evaluate lending and its changing calculations of risk. Mr. de Longuemar explained the Bank's interest in funding projects which make a clear contribution to development objectives, in comparing the levels of risk and reward, in ensuring adequate environmental and social safeguards, and in generating an appropriate return for the Bank. He predicted that by 2020 fifty percent of ADB’s lending will support non-governmental or private sector projects. He also talked about the balance of pricing riskier projects appropriately, advancing sustainable projects over the long-term, and working in riskier environments.
In conclusion, members noted how much they appreciated the opportunity to dialogue directly with Vice President de Longuemar and to learn about ADB’s plans for the future.
The Bretton Woods Committee is grateful to the Asian Development Bank North American Relations Office for their support with this event.