ADB Country Director bids adieu
The new ADB country director for Sri Lanka is Richard Vokes;
Alessandro Pio who held the post from August 2004 wished the country
goodbye, having called a media conference. "I would have liked to remain
in Sri Lanka for two more years, but I have been recalled by Manila," an
emotional Pio said.
Pio will assume duties as director of the strategy and policy
division in the ADB headquarters in Manila. That ADB division in Manila
is to be computerised and ADB were looking within for a few people with
hands-on experience. Pio, an Italian, had earlier been posted to Vietnam
and the Philippines. He was the ADB country economist for Sri Lanka in
Pio, during his tenure of office in Sri Lanka as country director,
was significantly involved in improving the performance of ongoing ADB
projects through closer monitoring, while the delegation of the resident
mission, here, was strengthened. Currently, ADB has an active portfolio
of 49 loans for a total of $1.7 billion.
Pio thought that Sri Lanka will continue to face a number of economic
and social challenges. Thus, achieving a lasting internal peace and
reconciliation is the essential ingredient to put Sri Lanka on a strong
and sustainable development path, he said.
Pio welcomed the current effort to achieve a broad political
consensus to face common challenges. Accordingly, the proposed
resumption of peace talks was encouraging. But, the intensification of
fighting and killings observed in recent months runs counter to what the
The impact on development assistance and post-tsunami reconstruction
in areas of the north is being felt.
But, planned projects, such as the improvement of the Jaffna water
supply and sanitation system, cannot go forward unless a condition of
peace is re-established, he said.