Spotlight: Octavio “Bobby” Peralta of ADFIAP

Octavio Peralta, Secretary General of Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific

Can you tell us about ADFIAP and its history?

ADFIAP is 44 years old this year, having been founded on October 1, 1976 during the 6th Regional Conference of Development Financing Institutions (DFIs) of Asia and the Pacific. Thirty-one DFIs attending the conference in Manila signed a Memorandum of Agreement to adopt the Constitution of what became the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) and affirmed their interest in becoming the founding members of the Association.

Currently, ADFIAP has 87 member-institutions in 36 countries and territories. ADFIAP has three service units: the Institute of Development Finance (IDF), which provides professional development and credentialing; 2) the ADFIAP Consulting (AC) Group, which provides advisory services on banking operations, treasury, credit and risk management; and 3) the ADFIAP Finance and Investment Center (AFIC), which is ADFIAP’s arm for financial mobilization and advisory services for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) frameworks. The permanent Secretariat of ADFIAP is headquartered in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Please tell us about yourself and your role in the association.

As CEO of the ADFIAP Secretariat, I lead in managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. I became the Secretary General in January 2005, after being the Deputy Secretary General since 1991. Before this, I worked with the Development Bank of the Philippines for 15 years in different roles as a Loan Officer, Remedial Management Officer, and Training Program Director. I am a mechanical engineer by training, a development banker by experience, and an association executive by mission.

Is agriculture a focus sector for ADFIAP and its members?

ADFIAP’s members are mainly national, state-owned development finance institutions providing long-term finance and technical assistance to multi-sector economic activities, from small businesses to large industries such as infrastructure, logistics, services, housing, and agriculture. Crosscutting these areas is the pursuit of the sustainability agenda, notably the SDGs. ADFIAP’s members include agricultural development banks whose main mandate is to provide access to finance to farmers, fishermen and agripreneurs.

How has the kind of support requested by ADFIAP members from AFIC evolved in recent times, particularly in the context of COVID-19?

Virtual dialogues and trainings have taken over AFIC’s provision of basic services. It has been difficult for our members who have specific needs and tailor-made requirements, which are best addressed face-to-face. Our program offerings have shifted to more pressing topics relevant to coping with COVID-19 challenges, and to sharing applicable measures to prepare members for when economies fully open after the pandemic. We have observed that the crisis has transformed our members’ mindset to “going beyond just mere financing” but also looking into more sustainability and ESG investing. Their internal directions have also moved into innovation and technology as a way to prepare for the future.

The synergies and opportunities that can be harnessed by working with SAFIN are enormous, especially in facilitating knowledge and information exchange.

Why did ADFIAP join SAFIN?

As an Association, ADFIAP values cooperation and collaboration with like-minded and development-oriented organizations, and SAFIN is one such relevant network focusing on one of the important actors of the economy – agri-SMEs. In addition, the synergies and opportunities that can be harnessed by working with SAFIN are enormous, especially in facilitating knowledge and information exchange, undertaking research and development initiatives, and implementing capacity-building programs among both SAFIN members and other stakeholders.

How is ADFIAP contributing to SAFIN?

ADFIAP’s main contributions to SAFIN are in the areas of knowledge sharing and finance mobilization. Our broad and robust network of DFIs is a source of different lessons and experiences, which makes us an active knowledge platform for sharing learnings including innovative work in agri-business. ADFIAP’s network can also play a catalytic role in mobilizing capital together with other stakeholders for agri-financing. Apart from our network, ADFIAP’s three business units can deliver technical assistance and support capacity building in the lending and credit functions of financial institutions, ESG, sustainable finance, and green energy finance.