ADB need to push reforms, governance and fiscal responsibility harder: study

MANILA, Jan 18, 2008 (AFP) – The Asian Development Bank admitted in an internal study released Friday that some of its loans to poor countries over the last few years had failed to achieve all their goals.

The release of the study comes after reports that disillusioned major donor nations such as the US and Britain want big changes at the Manila-based international lender.

The study said the administration of some 5.4 billion dollars worth of cheap loans approved between 2001 and 2004 was “less than efficient,” adding that “effectiveness” declined over the period.

The report assessed the result of loans extended by the bank’s Asian Development Fund, which accounts for a quarter of the bank’s total lending.

The bank’s wealthy Western members contribute to the fund, which charges little or no interest on the loans it extends to poor nations for a range of development projects.

Conflicting demands from donors and recipient governments led to less of the loans going to projects like health, agriculture and microfinance that promote the UN’s Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction, the study said.

The study also criticised the bank’s reliance on consultants “who often la