Tadao Chino is resigning as president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) from January 31, 2005. He would have been president for six years, having assumed office on January 16, 1999.

In announcing his resignation to the ADB’s board of directors, Chino said: “In submitting my resignation, I am conscious of what we have achieved together: many Asian countries affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 are now firmly back on a solid and sustainable growth path; ADF IX has been successfully concluded, thanks to the strong support of all shareholders; and ADB’s new reform agenda – in addition to many earlier reforms – is now firmly on track. Also, in view of the fact that the new ADF IX period is going to start from January 2005, I felt that it is the opportune time for me to leave ADB and to go back to my country, Japan. Since I am equally aware that much remains to be done, I will do my best in performing my responsibility as president until my last day at ADB.”

Chino has led ADB during a challenging period for the Asia and Pacific region. When he took office, several of ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs) were still suffering the consequences of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. The most immediate and pressing challenge for the bank was to help put the Asian economies back on track to recovery while assisting the poor and vulnerable who suffered the most from the crisis.

Soon after Chino’s arrival, ADB declared that poverty reduction should be its overarching goal. In November 1999, ADB approved its poverty reduction strategy. Based on this strategy, negotiations were started to replenish the Asian Development Fund (ADF VIII), a major source of concessional financing for the bank’s poorest members, and were successfully completed in 2000. The same year, a private sector development strategy was adopted as a major weapon against poverty aimed at fuelling economic growth and creating more jobs.

In 2001, ADB achieved another historic milestone with the adoption of its long-term strategic framework to guide the bank’s strategic directions and operations and help its DMCs and the region achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

The reorganisation of the bank in 2002, together with its resident mission policy, provided an effective institutional response to these objectives, bringing ADB closer to its DMCs.

ADB’s reform agenda, developed this year, provides another framework for enhancing the bank’s development effectiveness through a number of initiatives, both ongoing and new.

Chino said he was pleased that ADB has been proactive in post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation in conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. Furthermore, as mandated by its charter, ADB has been supporting various regional cooperation initiatives, such as enhancing connectivity, addressing cross-border issues, and financial and monetary initiatives.Earlier this year, ADB also concluded another highly successful ADF replenishment (ADF IX), in which 28 donors agreed on a US$7bn replenishment, including the introduction of grants, covering the four-year period 2005-08.

Chino’s tenure as ADB president completes a unique circle. He was involved in establishing ADB 40 years ago: in 1964 he was invited to the United Nations’ Bangkok-based Economic Commission for Asia and Far East (ECAFE). His assignment was to prepare documents for the first meeting of the Working Group of Experts on the establishment of ADB, held in October that year. His documents were used as a basis for discussions, and the group completed a report that laid the foundation leading to the establishment of ADB in 1966.

“I am very pleased with ADB’s many achievements during my time as president. The management team has been strengthened and the staff are highly capable and dedicated. I am confident that ADB is in good hands. I am resigning with a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude,” Chino said.

He added, however, that this is not the time to relax or recall the past: “Ahead of us, we have the ADB’s reform agenda in place for implementation. Developing Asia still faces huge challenges, including fighting poverty, despite its encouraging economic performance and prospects. Although the procedure for selecting my successor requires me to announce my resignation at this time, there are many urgent issues we need to address during the rest of the year. I assure you that, until my last day at ADB, I will be working with full commitment in the cause of development and poverty reduction in the Asia-Pacific region”.

Upon the resignation of the president of the ADB, the process for selecting a successor commences. The matter is determined by the board of governors, and the outcome announced in due course.