The Asian Development Bank became a reality in 1965 when pleni-potentiaries from 31 countries met in Manila and signed its Charter. The Charter came into effect in August 1966. The Philippines prevailed in a fierce competition to host the regional bank. On 19 December of the same year, less than a month after the inaugural meeting in Tokyo, ADB opened its doors for business.
Takeshi Watanabe of Japan was appointed as the first President.
ADB\'s principal functions are to: (i) make loans and equity investments for the economic and social advancement of developing member countries; (ii) provide technical assistance for the preparation and execution of development projects and programs and advisory services; (iii) promote investment of public and private capital for development purposes; and (iv) respond to request for assistance in coordinating development policies and plans of member countries. ADB\'s membership has grown from 32 countries in 1967 to 52 in 1991. Of the current members. 36 are regional members and 16 non-regional.
The Board of Governors is vested with all the powers of the Bank. Except for certain powers reserved to it, the Board of Governors has delegated its authority to the Board of Directors, which is responsible for the policy direction and general operations of the Bank. There are 12 Directors, eight representing regional countries and four representing non-regional countries.
Each Director appoints an Alternate Director.
The financial resources of ADB Consist of ordinary capital resources (OCR), comprising subscribed capital, reserves and funds raised through borrowings; and Special Funds, including the Asian Development Fund (ADF), comprising contributions made by member countries, accumulated net income and amounts previously set aside from the paid-in capital. Loans from OCR bear a variable interest rate, while those from ADF are confessional. OCR loans account for 66 per cent of cumulative Bank lending.
The first ADB loan was for $5 million made on 23 January 1968 to the Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand. At the end of 1990, cumulative lending stood at $32.5 billion.
Conceived as an institution lending for specific projects, agriculture emerged as ADBs early priority. Over the years, while agriculture and agro-industry have retained the largest share of ADB loans, other sectors, such as energy, industry and non-fuel minerals, transport and communications, finance and social infrastructure have also grown in importance.
ADB supports the role the private sector in the economic development of its developing member countries. In 1983, a Private Sector Division was created within the then Industry and Development Banks Department. In 1989, the Division was upgraded into a Private Sector Department. ADBs private sector activities include loans, lines of credit, equity investments and equity under writings. In 1985, the Board approved a proposal for lending directly to the private sector without government guarantee.
ADB seeks co-financing with bilateral and commercial sources in order to supplement resources available to the developing member countries.
Four members - Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taipei, China have graduated from ADB\'s lending program.
ADB\'s operational priorities for the 1990s include alleviating poverty, supporting social infrastructure projects which provide basic human needs; protecting the environment; enhancing the status and quality of life of women; greater cooperation with non-governmental organizations; continuing support forthe private sector; increasing policy dialogue; and giving increased attention to the speical needs of Pacific Island member countries.
ADB has established four resident offices in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan, and a regional office for the South Pacific member countries based in Port ViIa, Vanuatu.
(Contributed by: The Asian Development Bank)
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing a com-memorative postage stamp of Rs. 7/- denomination on December 19,1991.