Leader Profile: Ayumi Konishi, Vietnam Country Director, Asian Development Bank

In his 20-year tenure at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Ayumi Konishi has been a programs officer, a project economist, and an education specialist.

Today, he currently serves as the bank’s Vietnam country director.

“I admire the country and the people of Vietnam. We not only support their development but also can learn many things from this country. I’m very happy and I believe that I’m lucky to work in such a dynamic country,” said Konishi in a 2006 article published in Vietnam Net.

As the ADB Vietnam country director, Konishi is tasked to oversee the preparation of the regional lender’s assistance programs in the Southeast Asian nation. He also spearheads the drafting of Vietnam’s national strategy in cooperation with domestic government bodies, development partners, civilians and non-governmental organizations.

“Vietnam’s development path is rosy but not without thorns,” said Konishi in a 2007 speech delivered during the first Vietnam Economic Forum. “Reflecting our optimism with caution, therefore, we often note that Vietnam should dream with its eyes wide open.”

In the same speech, he noted that, “To maximize the benefits from integration and minimize the risks, the (Vietnamese) government needs to maintain sound macroeconomic management, strengthen the financial system and the corporate sector, and improve economic efficiency and competitiveness, while in parallel also strengthening social protection for vulnerable people, and ensuring the access of people to basic public services.”

An international civil servant with more than 20 years experience, Konishi served various United Nations agencies including the UN Economic Commission for Western Asia in Iraq, UN Secretariat in New York and UN Economic Commission for Africa in Ethiopia before joining ADB in 1988.

Prior to landing his current post, he served as the bank’s director for the Governance, Finance and Trade Division of the Southeast Asia Department where he focused on fostering regional cooperation.

He also assumed a significant role in initiating a dialogue between China and Mongolia when he was still ADB’s manager for Programs Department (East), Division 1, which assisted the bank’s operations in the two nations, the Philippines and Indonesia.

A Japanese national, Konishi graduated from Oregon University in 1981 and Waseda University in 1982. He also obtained a master’s degree in economics from New York University in 1985.

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