Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno met today to discuss how the two regions can step up joint efforts to tackle shared opportunities and challenges, such as increased economic integration, private sector development, rising inequality, and a lack of opportunities for the poor.
“Countries with economic similarities can foster understanding, trust, and cooperation, even if these countries are located far away from each other. A shared desire to grow and to reduce poverty can provide a solid foundation for cooperation,” Mr. Nakao said at the bilateral meeting.
The two presidents and other high-level ADB and IDB officials discussed a broad range of issues including how to boost South-South integration and interregional infrastructure development, the social protection challenges facing middle-income countries, and private sector investment strategies critical to spurring inclusive growth.
The meeting builds on previous steps to improve cooperation, including an ADB-IDB collaboration framework agreement signed in 2009 and a program for joint knowledge sharing begun in 2011. That program is promoting cooperation in areas such as expanding broadband connectivity, improving efficiency in customs, ensuring supply chain security, and designing more effective social protection programs such as conditional cash transfers.
“We feel there is tremendous value in reaching across oceans to share development solutions and pioneering business models which will help us achieve our ultimate goal—improving the well-being of all of our citizens through the promotion of inclusive economic growth,” said Mr. Moreno.
The event also saw the release of a new joint ADB-IDB report – Working Together in Pursuit of Inclusive Business: Sharing the Latin America and Caribbean Experience with Asia and the Pacific – which assesses the value of supporting inclusive business that targets commercially viable goods, services, income, and employment opportunities for vulnerable populations.
Developing Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean have made impressive gains in cutting poverty and expanding their middle classes in recent decades but inequalities within, and between, countries pose an increasing threat to future progress.
The report found there are significant and growing market opportunities for inclusive businesses and that multilateral development banks can play a valuable role in areas such as leveraging capital, reducing risk for investors, and providing knowledge and networks.
It includes suggestions on how the IDB’s success in pioneering new business models to serve the interests of vulnerable populations in Latin America and the Caribbean could be effectively rolled out in Asia. The report suggests such inclusive business programs could be realized through a technical assistance facility, a dedicated pool of capital, and through an externally managed fund.