ADB Encourages Private Sector to Fund Dev't Projects

Article excerpt

A senior official of Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the bank's challenge is to channel more funds to the poor in member countries with the support of the private sector.

Christine Wallich, director of ADB's infrastructure, energy and financial sectors department and head of the private sector group stressed that the private sector can make a profit and help the poor at the same time.

Private sector investment flows to developing countries jumped dramatically to US$300 billion in recent times from US$25 billion in the early 1980s - but over 80 percent of such funds goes to only 12 countries, including five in Asia.

Wallich told delegates that the private sector plays a key role in reducing poverty by generating jobs, promoting growth and markets so that the private sector creates improved livelihoods.

The private sector should create "fiscal space," by relieving pressure on public budgets and provide power, water, roads and telecommunications.

The private sector allows governments to redirect resources to social spending. In one South Asian country, for example, the cash required to keep a public utility afloat was more than 1. …