ADB's Support for Inclusive Growth

Evaluation Document | 5 March 2014

This study assesses ADB's operations in promoting inclusive growth during 2000-2012. This is a timely exercise as it comes at the halfway mark of Strategy 2020's term. The study looks at how ADB set and monitored its institutional priorities for promoting inclusive growth at the corporate level and through its country operations.

Inclusive growth is a central development issue and a rising economic priority in Asia and the Pacific. Despite remarkably strong economic growth over the past two decades, poverty remains vast and disparities in income and access to opportunities are widening in the region.

Responding to the need for greater inclusion in the region's growth process, the Asian Development Bank, in 2008, adopted inclusive growth as a strategic agenda under its Strategy 2020. ADB's framework for inclusive growth has had three main pillars: (i) promoting high, sustained economic growth, (ii) broadening inclusiveness through greater access to opportunities, and (iii) strengthening social protection.

This study assesses ADB's operations in promoting inclusive growth during 2000-2012. This exercise comes at the halfway mark of Strategy 2020's term. The study looks at how ADB set and monitored its institutional priorities for promoting inclusive growth at the corporate level and through its country operations. It also examines ADB's experience in supporting the inclusive growth agenda in Bangladesh, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Tajikistan, and Viet Nam.

The study's key finding is that ADB's financing over the last 13 years has been largely geared toward the pillar aimed at promoting economic growth in countries, thereby leaving limited support for the other two pillars of its inclusive growth agenda. Yet broadening access to opportunities and strengthening social protection, in addition to making growth itself more inclusive,are crucial for achieving greater inclusion in Asia and the Pacific.

In recommending that ADB provide adequate support for inclusive growth, the study calls for efforts to go beyond categorizing projects under the three pillars. Instead, incorporating inclusion objectives in projects and country strategies is imperative to ensure the adequacy of ADB support for inclusive growth. The study finds considerable scope for ADB making such a shift in project design and strategy formulation in both infrastructure and social sector areas, and for both public and private sector operations. Doing so would signify a unique contribution from ADB to the region's development trajectory.

Contents 

  • Acknowledgements
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Inclusive Growth: Issues and Trends
  • Strategic Support for Inclusive Growth
  • Operational Support for Inclusive Growth
  • ADB's Contribution to Inclusive Growth in Selected Countries
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendixes