In 1966, preparations for the opening of the new bank in Manila were intensively worked on and the election of the president was at the top of the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sata has asked Watanabe to run. Although he initially refused, the pressure came from other countries and Watanabe agreed. In the absence of other candidates, Watanabe was elected the first President of the Asian Development Bank at its constituent session on 24 November 1966. The Governing Council also elects the President of the Bank, who chairs the Board of Directors and heads the AfDB. The president has a five-year term and can be re-elected. Traditionally, and because Japan is one of the main shareholders of the bank, the president has always been Japanese. As a major player in the concept, Japan hoped that the ADB offices would be in Tokyo. But eight other cities had also expressed interest: Bangkok, Colombo, Kabul, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phnom Penh, Singapore and Tehran.
The decision was taken by the 18 potential regional members of the new Bank at a ministerial conference in Manila in November/December 1965. In the first round, on November 30, Tokyo failed to win a majority, so a second round was held the next day at 12 o`clock. Although Japan was in the lead, it has still not been successful, so a final vote took place after lunch. In the third poll, Tokyo won eight votes against, with one abstention. Manila has therefore been declared the host of the new development bank. The Japanese were confused and deeply disappointed. Watanabe later wrote to the ADB: “I felt that the child I had so carefully raised had been taken to a faraway land.” (Asian Development Bank publication, “Towards a New Asia,” 1977, 16) At the same time, the concept was officially proposed in 1963 by a young Thai economist, Paul Sithi-Amnuai, at a trade conference organized by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). (ESCAP, publication of the United Nations in March 2007, “Asia`s First Parliament” p. 65). Despite a mixed initial reaction, support for the creation of a new bank soon grew. In the early years of 2000, funding increased significantly.
While the institute has had such operations since the 1980s (under pressure from the Reagan administration), early attempts at low credit volumes, large losses and financial scandals related to a company called AFIC have been very futile. However, starting in 2002, the AfDB began a dramatic expansion of private sector lending as part of a new team. Over the next six years, the Private Sector Operations Department (PSOD) increased the AfDB`s new funding and revenues by 41 times in 2001. This culminated in the formal recognition of the Board of Directors when these benefits were formally adopted in March 2008, when the Board of Directors adopted the Long-Term Strategic Framework (LTSF).