Focus Areas

The Asian Development Fund (ADF) is guided by the Strategy 2020 vision of an Asia-Pacific free of poverty and promotes three complementary development agendas of inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional cooperation and integration.

Inclusive Economic Growth: Fostering Growth that Reaches All

Inclusive growth is particularly important for ADF countries. It has two mutually reinforcing objectives. First, rapid and sustainable growth will create and expand economic opportunities. Second, broader access to these opportunities will ensure that members of society can participate in and benefit from growth.

To promote a more inclusive growth, ADB has supported investments in infrastructure—roads, water, energy and other services—to help raise productivity, create jobs, reduce poverty and promote trade and investments. Infrastructure also promotes inclusiveness by integrating disadvantaged groups into mainstream economic activities and broadening their access to basic social services. In many ADF countries, for example, developing rural infrastructure to connect the poor to markets and enable them to participate in the growth process is essential. Inclusive growth also requires greater investment in education and health, particularly for the poor.

Environmentally Sustainable Growth: Growth for a Green Future

The region’s environment faces daunting threats. The decline in forest cover and the steady rise of greenhouse gas emissions are a major challenge. The region has also become more vulnerable to extreme weather, rising sea levels, and other phenomena related to climate change. Poor communities in many ADF countries, particularly women and children, will continue to be hardest hit.

ADB promotes an environmentally sustainable growth, which include efforts to tackle climate change. ADF assistance supports infrastructure investments in clean, efficient, and climate-resilient energy systems; efficient and sustainable modes of transportation; increased access to reliable and affordable water and sanitation; and climate-resilient and livable cities. ADF projects also seek to improve natural resource management in rural areas, maintain the integrity of important regional ecosystems, and strengthen environmental governance and management capacities, while addressing climate change as a cross-priority issue.

Regional Cooperation and Integration: Partnering for Shared Prosperity

Regional cooperation and integration (RCI) plays a critical role in accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and economic disparity, raising productivity and employment, and strengthening institutions. It narrows development gaps between ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs) by building closer trade integration, intraregional supply chains, and stronger financial links, enabling slow-moving economies to speed their own expansion.

With its decades of experience in the region, ADB can serve as a catalyst for RCI, linking national and regional priorities. In South Asia, for example, the size and scattered nature of the region’s hydropower and natural gas resources—and the different sizes of its national economies and associated energy demand levels and rates of growth—suggest immense potential for mutually beneficial integration and trade in energy and energy resources.

ADF has supported various cross-border infrastructures, which helped improve connectivity and raise national as well as household incomes. An increasing number of ADB’s regional projects are also targeted to support the Millennium Development Goals. These include projects aimed at controlling the spread of communicable diseases, promoting sustainable environmental management practices, and generating and sharing knowledge resources. ADF will also address energy security and climate change issues, as well as social and environmental issues resulting from faster growth.