FRANKFURT, Germany—The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said countries in Asia Pacific, including the Philippines, should create decent jobs and improve working conditions to make economic growth more sustainable.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao made this pronouncement in his speech at the opening of the 49th ADB Board of Governors meeting here.
“Jobs empower people and reduce poverty in the most fundamental way. Employment opportunities, especially for our youth, are essential to make the economy vibrant and to promote social stability. We should also ensure a safe and decent work environment,” Nakao said.
In the Philippines the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) pegged the country’s work force at 67.15 million in January 2016. However, only 40.05 million are employed.
While there are 2.48 million jobless Filipinos, this is only a fraction of the 7.88 million Filipinos looking for decent employment or better-paying jobs.
In terms of work safety in the Philippines, the PSA said the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector had the highest number of occupational injuries, with workdays lost in 2011 and 2013.
Nakao said the ADB has an important role in helping its member-countries ensure occupational safety. For one, the ADB partnered with the German government to help improve core labor standards and safe working conditions.
Apart from creating decent jobs and improving working conditions, Nakao also pushed for more increase public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the region to combat climate change.
Manila-based ADB has recently created its own PPP Office to support climate-change initiatives and infrastructure projects in Asia.
“The private sector is the engine of growth. It drives innovation and creates opportunities. It is the basis for Asia’s vibrant future,” Nakao said.
Under its Long-Term Strategic Framework 2020, the ADB sought to increase private-sector lending to as much as 50 percent of its portfolio.
Last year ADB loans to the private sector rose by 37 percent to $2.6 billion, from $1.92 billion in 2014.
In the Philippines the ADB provided a $20-million loan for the 150-megawatt (MW) Burgos Wind Farm Project of the EDC Burgos Wind Power Corp. The project involves the construction and operation of a 150-MW wind-farm project in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
The wind farm will cover an area of approximately 686 hectares across three barangays—Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot.
The ADB said it is also committed to doubling its climate-change financing to an average of $6 billion by 2020, from the current $3 billion.
Around $4 billion will be spent for mitigation efforts, while $2 billion will be spent for adaptation projects and programs.
In the Philippines the ADB will support the country’s first peso-denominated green bond through AP Renewables Inc.’s Tiwi and MakBan Geothermal Power Green Bonds Project.
The ADB will provide a project loan in pesos, or its equivalent in US dollars, and a partial credit guarantee in pesos to support the issuance of the green bond.
Nakao said the ADB will also prioritize climate- change initiatives under its cofinancing efforts with China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
On Monday Nakao and AIIB President Liqun Jin signed a memorandum of understanding for jointly financing projects.
The ADB and AIIB are already discussing projects for cofinancing in the road and water sectors. The first of these projects is Pakistan’s M4 highway project in Punjab province.