New President for ADB
27 April 2013
Takehiko Nakao has just been elected President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) by its Board of Governors.
Nakao, Japan’s former Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, will succeed Haruhiko Kuroda, who resigned in March to become Governor of the Bank of Japan.
Nakao is certainly a very qualified candidate with extensive experience in international finance and development and broad and deep knowledge of the Asian region.
But as Stephen Howes, Robin Davies and Ashlee Betteridge from the Australian National University have highlighted, the appointment of Nakao defies the 2009 agreement by G20 leaders that the head of any international institution should be appointed through an ‘open, transparent and merit-based process’.
Rather his appointment was made in a hurry, behind closed doors, without competition, and with the nomination coming from Japan. The ADB’s closed-door and uncompetitive presidential appointment process stands in stark contrast to the processes used by other international financial institutions.
Why did leading Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines line up so quickly behind another Japanese candidate, and ignore the G20, ask Howes, Davies and Betteridge.
"One plausible reason is fear of Chinese domination ... If so, this unedifying process is bad news not just for the ADB but for the future of Asian cooperation".