ADB says loan fund for poor nations may reach $12B

Posted at 04/27/2012 6:55 PM | Updated as of 04/27/2012 6:55 PM

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Friday funding for its concessional loan facility for low-income countries may increase by about 6 percent to around $12 billion despite economic and fiscal constraints faced by donor countries.

The final amount of the Asian Development Fund (ADF) for a four-year cycle ending 2016 will be finalised next week before of the Manila-based bank's annual meeting, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said.

He also told reporters the development lender would seek to re-engage with Myanmar but financial assistance would only resume once the country, one of the bank's original members, settles arrears worth $490 million.

Many major donors "have a difficult economic and fiscal situation, so we hope as much resources as possible will be provided through ADF," Kuroda said. "We hope this time something like $12 billion or close to $12 billion."

The ADF, which provides grants and concessional loans to low-income countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, is replenished every four years. For the 2009-2012 cycle, the funding was around $11.3 billion.

The ADB will be ready to support development of Myanmar through technical assistance and capacity building, but an appropriate economic assessment of the resource-rich country was needed, Kuroda said, echoing views of the World Bank.

"There is one big hurdle, not only for the ADB but also I understand the World Bank and a few bilateral donors, to restart financial assistance to Myanmar, because the Myanmar government has accumulated arrears," he said.

"And the arrears must be cleared before we can start financial assistance."