The Asian Development Fund (ADF) bridges the development gap in Asia and the Pacific, home to both the world’s fast-rising and most vulnerable economies. ADF is a major instrument of concessional financing that has supported equitable and sustainable development in the region since 1973. Funded by ADB's member countries, it offers loans at very low interest rates as well as grants to help reduce poverty in ADB's poorest member countries.
Dynamic economic growth has lifted millions of Asians out of poverty. Despite population growth, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day in developing Asia has been cut in half.
ADF-eligible countries have made solid progress in reducing poverty and promoting human development. ADF played a vital role in helping ADF countries achieve this progress. ADF operations have provided infrastructure and services to boost economic growth; assist countries with fragile and conflict-affected situations; and expand the access of the poor, women, and children to quality education and health care, reliable supply of electricity and clean water, and economic opportunities. ADF has also helped these countries improve their institutional capacities and implement needed reforms.
Yet disparities both within and across countries in the region remain. Over the past decade, ADF countries have been growing at a slower pace than the rest of developing Asia. This has contributed to increasing the development gap in the region. Extreme poverty, as measured by the head count index, remains higher in ADF countries than in OCR-only countries. Unless properly addressed, this persistent gap between countries in Asia, compounded by the new challenges of climate change and mounting environmental costs of growth, will seriously hamper long-term prospects for the region.
Progress toward the non-income Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in ADF countries has also not been fast enough. ADF countries as a group have already achieved the MDG for access to safe drinking water. Gender parity has been realized in primary and secondary education, and is expected to be achieved in tertiary education. Yet, millions of children continue to live in hunger; there is unacceptably high maternal and child mortality; and lack of access to adequate water and sanitation remains a concern. ADF countries will continue to need support to meet their investment demands and address their challenges and constraints.
ADB has a proven track record in reducing poverty and improving the lives of people in low-income and vulnerable countries in the region through ADF assistance. Through key initiatives in energy, transport, water and sanitation, education, and microfinance, ADF assistance has helped transform the lives of millions of poor and vulnerable people, including women and children.
Since 1973, ADF has provided more than $50 billion for projects and programs that helped poor families escape poverty. In 2013-2014 alone, over 100 loan and grant projects totaling $6.9 billion were made to developing member countries of ADB.