ADB stresses need to boost financial resources to promote growth

The Asian Development Bank on Saturday stressed the need to strengthen its financial resources to help Asia reduce poverty and achieve more economic growth as the region's financial chiefs gathered for the multilateral lender's annual meeting.

The ADB's operations last year came to a total of around $22 billion including about $8 billion in co-financing, but the figure "still falls far short compared with the needs of the region," ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in his speech delivered at the start of its two-day meeting in India.

The ADB needs to "step up efforts to leverage external sources of finance, including bilateral official sources," particularly from new and emerging donors, said Nakao, who took the helm of the institution last Sunday.

Finance leaders and delegates from the 67 ADB member countries gathered in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi to explore ways to deal with energy, disaster management and other key issues in the region.

Nakao also said that infrastructure in the developing Asian countries should be developed more to sustain growth, saying that the region's underdeveloped infrastructure could be a barrier to investment.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his speech at the inaugural session of the meeting that Asia needs to promote regional cooperation to accelerate development and reduce economic disparity.

"India is a firm believer in the benefits of regional integration...we stand committed to deep engagement with the countries of East and Southeast Asia," he said.

The ADB predicts that developing economies in Asia will expand 6.6 percent this year and 6.7 percent in 2014, up from 6.1 percent in 2012.