OSAKA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is setting up an office in Singapore to support the expansion of the organisation’s private sector operations.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday (Jun 28) inked the deal to set up the office with ADB president Takehiko Nakao on the sidelines of the G20 summit held in Osaka, Japan.
The number of private sector projects will increase to one third of the finance institution’s operations by 2024, Singapore’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement.
The ADB, of which Singapore is a founding member, provides loans, grants and technical assistance to member governments and direct assistance to private enterprises of developing member countries.
Private sector operations will also strengthen support for frontier economies and expand operations in agriculture and social sectors such as health and education, in addition to renewable energy and other core infrastructure, MOF added.
Under its long-term “Strategy 2030”, the bank aims to sustain efforts to eradicate extreme poverty while expanding its vision of a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.
“The Singapore office will help achieve this growth by making it easier to efficiently engage with project sponsors, contractors, advisers, financiers, other international financial institutions and professional service providers,” the Finance Ministry said.
ADB’s Singapore office is expected to open in the second half of this year, and will be a lean and focused office with 12 members of staff. Opening the office is part of a wider move by ADB to have private sector staff based closer to clients in the region, MOF said.
Mr Heng said on Friday that governments will need to work with multi-lateral development banks to inject US$1.7 trillion (S$2.3 trillion) worth of infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum.
Such investment will make projects bankable and investible, and in turn draw in private capital, he said.
“We are happy that ADB sees value in tapping on Singapore’s financial and services ecosystem, to catalyse the flow of private capital to meet the infrastructure needs in our region,” Mr Heng said.
Mr Nakao said that “as one of the world’s leading financial and commercial hubs”, Singapore is well suited to support the ongoing expansion of ADB’s private sector activities.
“Mobilising private sector money from markets such as Singapore helps us to bring the latest technologies and management skills to development projects across the region in the infrastructure and social sectors,” he said.