Regional Cooperation

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program is helping transform challenges into opportunities in one of the world's poorest, most densely populated areas. It is an initiative to promote economic cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.

In 1996 four of the seven member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, formed the South Asian Growth Quadrangle (SAGQ), with the primary objective of accelerating sustainable economic development among these countries. This subregional initiative was endorsed at the SAARC summit in Malé, Maldives in 1997. Subsequently, these four countries requested ADB’s assistance in facilitating their economic cooperation initiative. This request led to the implementation of the SASEC program.

ADB's support for SASEC was undertaken mainly through

  • capacity building and institutional strengthening of the program,
  • various regional cooperation initiatives, and
  • ADB-financed projects and technical assistance.

Since the inception of SASEC, ADB has informally functioned as its secretariat.

SASEC’s mission: From poverty to growth--transforming challenges into opportunities

The lead activity of the SASEC program is the identification, prioritization, and implementation of subregional projects.

Priority areas

  • Energy and power
  • Transport
  • Trade, investment, and private sector

Other areas of work

  • Information and communications technology (ICT)
  • Tourism
  • Environment

Major outputs