KATHMANDU — Asian Development Bank (ADB) Director General for South Asia Kenichi Yokoyama visited Nepal on 16–19 March. During his visit, Yokoyama reaffirmed ADB’s continued strong support to the Government of Nepal’s development agenda. He served as Country Director for Nepal from 2012 to 2017.

“I am very happy to be back in Kathmandu and to meet with senior government officials to discuss ADB operations in the country, our partnerships, and key strategic directions. ADB is committed to supporting Nepal in its green, resilient, and inclusive recovery from the pandemic to achieve high and sustainable economic growth, improve the lives of Nepali people and build resilience to climate change impact,” said Mr. Yokoyama.

“The focus now should be on structural reforms and quality investments in infrastructure and human capital to further stimulate private sector investments, including foreign direct investments, while devolving services to the local level. These will raise productivity in agriculture, manufacturing, and services— prerequisites to achieving higher economic growth.”

At his meeting with Nepal Finance Minister Janardan Sharma, Yokoyama applauded the government’s efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and manage its impact on public health, welfare, and the economy, as well as progress in vaccination program, with more than 80% of the target population receiving two doses. He sought the continued leadership of the Ministry to accelerate timely, efficient, and quality implementation of the development programs and reforms.

During his 4-day visit, Yokoyama also met with Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale;  Minister of Water Supply Umakanta Chaudhari; Minister of Urban Development Ram Kumari Jhakri; Minister of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal; and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Renu Kumari Yadav. He also met with secretaries of these ministries and other senior government officials, project staff, and development partners.

Yokoyama also visited the ADB-supported Kathmandu Valley Wastewater Management Project site. The $137 million project is helping to modernize and expand the wastewater treatment facilities and systems in the Kathmandu Valley.

ADB’s lending to Nepal increased from an annual average of around $300 million during 2015–2017 to about $600 million during 2018–2020.

Yokoyama said that ADB is aiming to maintain support, at $500–$600 million in concessional resources per year in the next 3 years, helping the government with its vision of a sustainable and more inclusive growth.

ADB provided a concessional loan of $250 million in May 2020 to the government for its COVID-19 pandemic response that focused on providing budgetary resources for containment and prevention, protection of economically vulnerable groups, and providing relief to small businesses. ADB added a $165 million concessional loan in July 2021 to help the government procure about 15.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for about 6.8 million people.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.