ADB ready to boost lending to Philippines by 66%

MANILA — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday it is ready to boost lending to the Philippines by 66 percent to about $3 billion to support the country's infrastructure and development needs.

A joint statement after a meeting of ADB President Takehiko Nakao and Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the Manila-based lender is ready to increase loans from $1.8 billion for 2015-2017 to around $3 billion for 2016 to 2018.

The ADB will continue to support the country's infrastructure needs, programs to strengthen high school education, job creation for youth, social protection and development in the southern Philippines, Nakao said.

Purisima said support from ADB is crucial and quality education and infrastructure are needed to fuel growth beneficial to all.

The Philippine economy has grown rapidly for several years and expanded 6.1 percent in 2014. The ADB forecasts growth of 6.4 percent in 2015 and 6.3 percent in 2016.

Nakao said the country should utilize the potential of its young and educated population by increasing opportunities in such areas as business process outsourcing, tourism, and agricultural businesses.

The ADB said while the January unemployment rate of 6.6 percent was the lowest in 10 years, addressing youth unemployment remains a key challenge. (AP)

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