The Asian Development Bank, or ADB, on Thursday said it tripled its capital base to US$ 165 billion from US$ 55 billion to boost its poverty reduction efforts.

The 200% increase is ADB's largest, and the first since ADB increased its capital by 100% in 1994.

This substantial increase is a resounding vote of confidence from our shareholders for what we can achieve as a premier development partner in the region, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said.

The capital increase decision comes two days before ADB begins its 42nd Annual Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from May 2-5.

The ADB said in a report that the 200% increase allows the bank to substantially increase its support to countries affected by the global downturn. It will also enable ADB to provide an additional US$ 10 billion from its Ordinary Capital Resources over the next few years for crisis-related assistance.

We must do all we can to prevent the reversal of hard won gains for our region in social and economic development, and in poverty reduction, Kuroda said.

ADB estimates that the crisis will keep more than 60 million people in developing Asia trapped in absolute poverty this year, and nearly 100 million more in 2010.

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