Doing business with ADB: A conversation with Vice-President Deborah Stokes

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MANILA — The Asian Development Bank’s operations are growing. Last year, bank-approved loans and grants reached a record $19.1 billion, a 9 percent increase from 2016.

For consultants and suppliers, this growth signals more business opportunities with the multilateral development bank.

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“Right now, about $30 billion of our approved funds are uncontracted — out to tender or reviewing bids from our potential partners,” said Deborah Stokes, ADB vice-president for administration and corporate management. Stokes is in charge of the overall management of ADB’s budget, personnel, IT systems, and operations services, among others.

Along with ADB’s growing portfolio come changes in the way it does business. In 2017, the bank approved a new procurement framework that places additional emphasis on quality and value for money, but which also aims to speed up procurement times from project preparation to implementation.

The new framework also allows for more flexibility in ADB’s selection process, removing previously restrictive requirements that limit the number of firms that can participate from each of ADB’s 67 member countries.

Devex sat down with Stokes to learn more about the bank’s new procurement policies and regulations, which will have a dedicated session at ADB’s upcoming business opportunities fair on March 14-15 at the ADB headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

“We’ll be explaining how this new framework is less prescriptive than our old one, and how it will improve the ways that we work together with our partners,” Stokes said.

The vice president also shared insights on how individuals and firms with no prior engagement with the bank can start doing business with the multilateral institution, as well as on what types of talents and skills the bank is looking for as it expands its operations and increases staffing in ADB resident missions.

About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.