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ADB Annual General Meeting in Madrid, Spain: Poor are left unconsidered by Asian Development Bank

By voice - Posted on 03 May 2008

Madrid, Spain, 3 May 2008 - Ahmed Swapan Mahmud
The Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank's is currently being held from 3rd to 6th May 2008 in Madrid, Spain. The Bank has failed to meet its poverty reduction targets for more than four decades, leaving millions of poor in developing countries.
The Bank is emphasizing private sector development, to which it is allocating 50 per cent of its budget without considering the social protection and human security of the poor. Economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration are now the priority areas, while the lending agency continues to ignore public service support.

ADB’s strategy for 2020 puts the private sector in control over a country, leaving public services open for the multinational corporations. Also, the Bank has put pressure on the government to cut down spending on public services, and has been advocating for blanket privatization and commercialization while the poor suffer the worst due to reduced state responsibility. Whom does the ADB serve? The corporate bias of ADB ensures private sector making profit over life, while millions of poor suffer from malnutrition and lack of proper access to land, water, and common resources.

ADB’s strategy for 2020 and its policies do not guarantee anything in the service of the poor, but guarantee the private sector as their ally in business. Although private sector development can promote growth, rather than promoting poverty reduction,it helps to widen the gap between the rich and poor and create social injustice and insecurity.

What will be the role of the developing countries’ governments in Madrid? If they feel any responsibility towards the poor of their own countries, they must question the Bank's policies and strategy. Governments of developing countries should hold ownership of the policy and should hold the Bank accountable for their actions.

Ahmed Swapan Mahmud from Madrid