What is the Asian Development Bank?

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  • Written By: M. Rosario
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a banking institution that provides financial and professional assistance to its members. It's a supranational bank, which means that the members are composed of different countries from several continents. A majority of the bank's members are in the Asia-Pacific region, however.

Established on 19 December 1966, the Asian Development Bank's headquarters are located in Manila, Philippines. The bank was formed with the main objective of reducing poverty in the Asia-Pacific. The members planned to achieve this mostly through the financing of long-term projects that would benefit individual countries over time. As of February 2007, the Asian Development Bank had 67 members.

ADB is known as a regional development bank. This type of bank works mainly by lending capital to its members, which are usually developing countries. The capital is then commonly used to build infrastructures and other long-term projects that promote the country's growth and improve the quality of life of its citizens.

Developed countries mainly fund the Asian Development Bank by combining their financial resources. They then lend this to other countries, with interest. Bond issues from capital markets, interest from loans, and member contributions are also used to increase the bank's funds.


A regional development bank is also called a multi-lateral development bank. There are several banks of this type that operate all over the world, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. These banks help finance projects that would otherwise be unaffordable to an undeveloped member country.

The borrower countries are encouraged to build projects and infrastructures that support their development. Economic growth is only one of the developments the Asian Development Bank seeks to accomplish, however. Social welfare and improved living conditions are also taken into account when a country's development is measured. The ADB conducts trainings and seminars in communities to help foster sustainability and empowerment in the local population.

Financing projects is not the only function of the Asian Development Bank. It also provides technical and operational advice. Experts from fields like engineering, finance, and agriculture are employed by the ADB. They evaluate and review a prospective project's merit and ensure that it will meet its intended results.

The impact of ADB's assistance is not just through improved livelihood and economy. Corporate social responsibility is also practiced by the Asian Development Bank. It sends emergency aid in times of crisis or natural disaster. The bank also partners with local and nongovernmental organizations to build projects that promote gender equality and education.


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