MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has begun implementing sweeping new changes to the way it does business to improve the quality and responsiveness of its work.

Starting this January, business processes are being streamlined to make them more efficient, to lower transaction costs, and to enable ADB to respond swiftly to client needs. The improvements will help ADB realize the development goals laid out under its long term strategic framework, Strategy 2020, in order to achieve its overarching vision of a region free of poverty.

The need to strengthen business processes has been highlighted by the sharp increase in volume of ADB funding in recent years. Overall loan volumes have more than doubled, and in the current work program for 2010-2012, ADB is targeting average disbursements of around $17.5 billion a year, including cofinance. The reforms also reflect calls from clients for ADB to improve its response time to their requests, and the need for increased aid harmonization with other development partners.

Among the changes are categorizing projects based on risk to speed up delivery time, improved loan processing procedures, simplified documentation requirements, and the development of an electronic knowledge repository. Adjustments in the preparation of country partnership strategies will make the process less time consuming and help minimize costs.

"This streamlining of our business processes will enhance our client responsiveness without comprising quality, and in fact one of the key objectives of this initiative is to further enhance quality," said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda.

The changes will result in improvements in knowledge management and the use of resources. They will also help decentralize decision making and align ADB's business processes with best international practices for development assistance.

The streamlining is being introduced in phases from January, with the new processes expected to be fully in place by the start of the second quarter.