In June 20, 2017, ADB held a book launch and seminar on “Banking on the Future of Asia and the Pacific: 50 Years of the Asian Development Bank.” The author, Peter McCawly, an academic from the Australian National University, a former Executive Director of ADB and former Dean of the ADB institute was joined by a panel of experts such as Ernesto M. Pernia, Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning, National Economic and Development Authority, Government of the Philippines, Delia Albert, Board Member of Asian Institute of Management; Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Philippines, Jikyeong Kang, President, Asian Institute of Management, Alfredo Pascual, Trustee, Philippine Institute of Development Studies; Former President, University of the Philippines, and Takehiko Nakao, President, Asian Development Bank in discussing the key lessons from the region’s rapid development in 50 years.
In a century of diversity, Jikyeong Kang highlights Asia’s need to inspire, transform, and innovate. By 2050, Asia’s per capita income could rise sixfold in purchasing power partity (PPP) given that Asian economies can maintain their momentum for another 40 years and adapt to the shifting global economic and technological environment by continually recreating their comparative advantages. Takehiko Nakao puts emphasis on the Asia’s advantage in development through utilizing labor and capital whilst continuing productivity through innovation. In the Philippine context where poverty and inequality is still evident, Pascual mentions the need for access to quality education and investments in infrastructure. Currently, the small-scale and micro-enterprises in the country account for 60% of employment in the Philippines. The empowerment of these business by bridging the private and public sector in financing and marketing is essential for inclusive development.
During the open discussion and Q&A portion, a member of the audience raised a question regarding ASEAN’s role in regional development and stability. Delia Albert looks back upon ASEAN’s highlights in 50 years like the ASEAN Charter, community, connectivity, centrality, and communication. On a final note, Peter McCawly emphasizes the importance of building the Asian region, collaborate with all the links, cultivate global production networks, and surpass bureaucratic barriers.