ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (6 July 2017) — Pakistan’s Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang joined diplomats, senior government officials, ADB staff, and representatives of the development community to celebrate ADB’s 50th Anniversary at a reception in Islamabad today.
The event included a panel discussion on “What’s Next—Supporting Pakistan’s Development Agenda,” the country launch of the ADB history book Banking on the Future of Asia and the Pacific—50 Years of Asian Development Bank, the presentation of a short video about ADB in Pakistan, and the unveiling of a commemorative postage stamp.
“Over the last 50 years, ADB has helped upgrade vital infrastructure, promote private sector development, improve public sector management and financial markets, foster social protection, and develop agriculture sector, as well provided emergency assistance,” said Mr. Zhang. “Together we have overcome many development challenges; together we are committed to expanding our partnership to reduce poverty and increase prosperity of the people of Pakistan.”
The anniversary event, jointly organized by ADB’s Pakistan Resident Mission and the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of the Ministry of Finance, was kicked off by welcome remarks from ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang detailing key development milestones during the last 5 decades.
Pakistan was a founding member of ADB in 1966. ADB’s first assistance for Pakistan was approved in 1968 to help small- and medium-scale industries. Since then, ADB has been one of Pakistan’s largest development partners, providing more than $29.5 billion in loans, technical assistance, and grants as of 31 December 2016.
In the panel discussion, moderated by ADB Senior Adviser Werner Liepach, Senator Dar and Mr. Zhang discussed key lessons from Pakistan’s development experience with Tariq Bajwa, Former Secretary Finance, Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute Pakistan; and Ghalib Nishtar, President and CEO of the Khushhali Bank. The Finance Minister outlined Pakistan’s economic direction and key achievements while underscoring the country’s tremendous development potential as a future economic powerhouse.
The history book launched is the first comprehensive and definitive account of ADB’s 50-year history. Written by Australian National University academic Peter McCawley, a former Executive Director of ADB and former Dean of the ADB Institute, the book details how ADB has responded to Asia’s challenges and evolved in the context of the changing international development agenda.
The commemorative postage stamp is issued by Pakistan Post to mark ADB and Pakistan’s 50-years of partnering for development. The 8-rupee postage stamp features the [email protected] insignia and is inspired by the blue of ADB’s logo and the green of Pakistan’s national flag.
During his visit, Mr. Zhang also met with senior government officials to discuss Pakistan’s development priorities. In Lahore, the ADB Vice-President discussed ADB operations with Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of the Punjab province and visited Sundar Industrial Estate and Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority in Lahore.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.