Learning Lessons: Supporting Inclusive Growth

Evaluation Document | 6 June 2014

This brief looks at how ADB set and monitored its institutional priorities for promoting inclusive growth at the corporate level and through its country operations. It discusses lessons and recommendations to further increase inclusion. 

Governments in Asia and the Pacific are increasingly recognizing the urgency for adopting strategies that promote more inclusive economic growth. Poverty has plunged in some countries in the past two decades, but its elimination in the region is unfinished business, with hundreds of millions still living in abject conditions. At the same time, income inequality has risen more than 20% in the last 20 years. This could hinder further poverty reduction and threaten sustained growth.

Yet there is now an understanding that economic growth alone is not enough to improve welfare—its pattern also matters. Governments and institutions are therefore adopting inclusive growth as a focal point of development strategies.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) introduced inclusive growth in 2008 as one of its complementary strategic agendas under Strategy 2020, along with environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. The strategy identifies three pillars of inclusive growth: (i) high sustainable growth to create and expand economic opportunities (pillar 1), (ii) broader access to these opportunities to ensure that members of society can participate in and benefit from growth (pillar 2); and (iii) safety nets to prevent extreme deprivation (pillar 3).

The institutional challenge is to ensure ADB’s inclusive growth strategy becomes an operational reality.