Organizing the Asian Development Bank: Radical Transformation or Degenerative Irrelevance?

Stephen P. Groff

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In its 2018 report, the G20 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Global Financial Governance stressed that the international order is at a critical juncture and the challenges ahead are both larger and more pressing than we’ve seen in decades. The report emphasizes that “our central challenge
is to create a cooperative international order for a world that has changed irreversibly: one that is more multipolar and decentralized in decisions, yet more interconnected...” (p. 4). The EPG proposed several reforms to the governance structures of the International Financial Institutions
(IFIs) to “ensure coherence and synergies in a more diverse and decentralized world, and to achieve a critically needed shift in business models to catalyze private investments and enable greater development impact” (p. 66). More than ten years earlier, another eminent persons group was
convened by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and tasked with looking into the future of the region and outlining the institution’s role. Envisioning a “dramatically transformed Asia”, this EPG concluded that ADB “must change radically and adopt a new paradigm for development
banking” (p. 1). While there has been frankly little progress on the specific recommendations of either EPG, the basic premise of both sets of recommendations – that reform is both necessary and urgent – continues to resonate. Nowhere is this more true than at the ADB, an institution serving
a region that has experienced the world’s most radical economic transformation over the last halfcentury. ADB’s historical approach of incremental and episodic reform worked for its first fifty years but is insufficient to meet the larger challenges of the coming decades.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Elgar Companion to the Asian Development Bank
Subtitle of host publicationElgar Companions to International Organizations
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

JEL Classification: L20

The Elgar Companion to the Asian Development Bank: Elgar Companions to International Organizations, Forthcoming

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