Pakistan, ADB celebrate 50-year of ties with pledge to expand partnership

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ISLAMABAD, July 7 (APP): Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar
and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang joined federal ministers, diplomats, senior government officials, ADB staff,
and representatives of the development community to celebrate ADB’s
50th Anniversary at a reception here on Thursday night.
The event included a panel discussion on “What’s Next-
Supporting Pakistan’s Development Agenda,” the country launch
of the ADB history book Banking on the Future of Asia and the
Pacific-50 Years of Asian Development Bank, the presentation of
a short video about ADB in Pakistan, and the unveiling of a
commemorative postage stamp.
“Over the last 50 years, ADB has helped upgrade vital
infrastructure, promote private sector development, improve
public sector management and financial markets, foster social
protection, and develop agriculture sector, as well provided
emergency assistance,” said Zhang. “Together we have overcome
many development challenges; together we are committed to
expanding our partnership to reduce poverty and increase
prosperity of the people of Pakistan.”
The anniversary event, jointly organized by ADB’s Pakistan
Resident Mission and the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of the
Ministry of Finance, was kicked off by welcome remarks from ADB
Country Director Xiaohong Yang, detailing key development milestones
during the last 5 decades.
Pakistan was a founding member of ADB in 1966. ADB’s first
assistance for Pakistan was approved in 1968 to help small- and
medium-scale industries. Since then, ADB has been one of Pakistan’s
largest development partners, providing more than $29.5 billion in
loans, technical assistance, and grants as of 31 December 2016.
In the panel discussion, moderated by ADB Senior Adviser
Werner Liepach, Senator Dar and Mr. Zhang discussed key lessons
from Pakistan’s development experience with Tariq Bajwa, Former
Secretary Finance, Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director,
Sustainable Development Policy Institute Pakistan; and Ghalib
Nishtar, President and CEO of the Khushhali Bank.
The Finance Minister outlined Pakistan’s economic direction
and key achievements while underscoring the country’s tremendous
development potential as a future economic powerhouse.
The history book launched is the first comprehensive and
definitive account of ADB’s 50-year history. Written by Australian
National University academic Peter McCawley, a former Executive
Director of ADB and former Dean of the ADB Institute, the book
details how ADB has responded to Asia’s challenges and evolved
in the context of the changing international development agenda.
The commemorative postage stamp is issued by Pakistan
Post to mark ADB and Pakistan’s 50-year of partnering for
development.
The 8-rupee postage stamp features the ADB-50 insignia
and is inspired by the blue of ADB’s logo and the green of
Pakistan’s national flag.
During his visit, Mr. Zhang also met with senior government
officials to discuss Pakistan’s development priorities. In Lahore,
the ADB Vice-President discussed ADB operations with Shahbaz Sharif,
Chief Minister of the Punjab province and visited Sundar Industrial
Estate and Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority in
Lahore.