Magazine article Presidents & Prime Ministers

The Asian Development Bank

Magazine article Presidents & Prime Ministers

The Asian Development Bank

Article excerpt

Bank Profile

The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution, was founded in 1966 by 31 member governments to promote the social and economic progress of the Asian and Pacific region. Over the past 31 years, the Bank's membership has grown to 57, of which 41 are from within the region and 16 from outside the region.

The Bank gives special attention to the needs of the smaller or less-developed countries and priority to regional, sub-regional, and national projects and programs.


The Bank's principal functions are (i) to extend loans and equity investments for the economic and social development of its developing member countries (DMCs); (ii) to provide technical assistance for the preparation and execution of development projects and programs, and for advisory services; (iii) to promote and facilitate investment of public and private capital for development purposes; and (iv) to respond to requests for assistance in coordinating development policies and plans of its DMCs.


The two largest shareholders of the Bank, as of 31 December 1997, were Japan and the United States, each accounting for 16 percent of total subscribed capital. Forty-one regional members accounted for 63 percent of total shareholding, while 16 non-regional members contributed 37 percent of total.


The Bank's headquarters is located in Manila, Philippines. It has resident missions in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam, and has opened resident missions in Kazakstan and Uzbekistan. These resident missions improve the Bank's coordination with the governments and donor agencies; assist with activities related to country programming and processing of new loan and technical assistance projects; and help ensure project quality. The Bank has a regional mission in the South Pacific (Port Vila, Vanuatu) which undertakes Bank operations in South Pacific DMCs (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu), particularly strengthening the working relationship between the Bank and South Pacific DMC governments in processing and implementing loan and technical assistance projects in coordination with bilateral and multilateral donor agencies. Three representative offices have been established for Europe (Frankfurt), Japan (Tokyo), and North America (Washington, DC) to strengthen the Bank's representation in donor countries and assist in its resource mobilization efforts by promoting co-financing with official and commercial sources.

Bank Operations

Strategic Objectives

The Bank's strategic development objectives, as defined in the Bank's Medium-Term Strategic Framework (1995-1998), are to promote economic growth, reduce poverty, support human development (including population planning), improve the status of women, and protect the environment.

The desirable project mix between social and economic development adopted by the Bank for all of its public sector lending operations -- is a 50:50 ratio; at least 50 percent of the total number of projects will have social or environmental objectives either as primary or secondary objectives; the remaining will support projects with economic growth as the primary objective. In terms of lending volume, the Bank's desirable lending mix is to have 40 percent of total public sector lending for projects with social or environmental objectives by the end of the decade.

Operating objectives in each DMC fall within four areas: policy support; capacity building for development management; creating/strengthening productive capacity, infrastructure, and services; and regional cooperation.

Sector Coverage

The Bank's operations cover a wide spectrum of activities and have been classified according to the following sectors: (i) agriculture and natural resources, (ii) energy, (iii) industry and nonfuel minerals, (iv) finance, (v) transport and communications, (vi) social infrastructure, and combinations of some of the sectors (i) to (vi). …

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