S'pore, ADB ink agreement to spur more investment, innovation in Asia-Pacific

DPM Lawrence Wong (right) and ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa signed the agreement in Bali on July 14, 2022. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FINANCE

SINGAPORE - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has refreshed its agreement with Singapore to spur more investment in private-sector development projects in developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Bali on Thursday (July 14), on the sidelines of the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting that Mr Wong was there to attend.

The new agreement replaces an earlier one that both sides signed in 2012 to enhance knowledge sharing and cooperation in governance and public policy, private-sector development and climate change management.

With the new MOU, both sides aim to build on these areas of collaboration by focusing on mobilising investment and technology from Singapore's public and private sectors to finance private-sector development projects in ADB developing member countries, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Thursday.

ADB member countries include Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.

Singapore was a founding member of the ADB when the bank was established in 1966. It borrowed from the ADB until 1980, formally graduated from borrowing in 1998, and since 2001 has contributed to multiple funds run or supported by the ADB.

With the agreement, the ADB and Singapore will also cooperate in promoting the use of new technologies and innovative processes in areas such as developing liveable cities and addressing the challenges of climate change. They will also further strengthen collaboration on digital innovation in areas like support for start-ups.

The ADB's Singapore Office, which opened in 2020, will play a central role in expanding cooperation under the new agreement. This includes deepening the engagement between the ADB and the Singapore Government, said MOF.

Mr Wong, who is also Minister for Finance, said the ADB's Singapore office made good progress mobilising investments for projects in developing member countries despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The refreshed MOU will enable both sides to use new and innovative approaches to challenges such as climate change and energy transition, and will help ensure shared prosperity and more sustainable development for the region, he added.

On Thursday, Mr Wong also met Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the sidelines of the G-20 meetings. He congratulated her on her re-election and discussed ways to strengthen multilateral institutions to better address climate change and pandemic response.

Mr Wong also spoke at the G-20 Ministerial Tax Symposium.

"Tax policies continue to help us promote a competitive economy, an inclusive society and a transition to a more sustainable future," he tweeted after the discussion. "And we work to ensure our tax and spending system is fair and progressive."

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