Asian Development Bank's Contribution to Inclusive Development through Assistance for Rural Roads

Evaluation Document | 30 September 2009

This evaluation reviews ADB assistance portfolio of rural road associated projects from 1996 to 2007; differentiates inclusive growth and inclusive development through a literature review; and presents case studies.

The notion of "inclusive development" has been embedded in ADB operations in one form or another since the organization's establishment. This is seen, for example, in ADB's support for rural infrastructure, particularly rural roads, which account for nearly 75% of such assistance.

This study reviews ADB's assistance for rural road associated projects from 1996 to 2007. It differentiates inclusive growth and inclusive development through a literature review, and presents case studies from Nepal, the Philippines, and Viet Nam.

Among other things, the study assessed the performance of six case study rural roads for their inclusive development dimensions. ADB assistance for rural roads in support of inclusive development is rated partly successful; the study notes that a more systematic effort is needed to achieve long-term goals in this sector.

The study showed, however, that the project roads improved access to major roads and markets, and to social services such as education and health. They also helped create opportunities for enhancing production, employment, and marketing, and they helped increase household income and expenditure, among other things. The study found that there was no evidence that improved roads had increased school enrolments.

The study notes that rural roads may be a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for inclusive development. It stresses that the sustainability of project benefits must be ensured; and it recommends that progress toward inclusive development is necessary to demonstrate development effectiveness of rural road-associated projects.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Methodology and Data
  • Assistance for Rural Roads
  • Project Case Studies
  • Performance Assessment of Case Study Roads in Addressing Inclusive Development
  • Lessons and Recommendations
  • Appendixes
  • Supplementary Appendixes