INCHEON, REPUBLIC OF KOREA (2 May 2023) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched ADB Frontier, a new initiative that will invest in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at frontier markets in Asia and the Pacific. ADB Frontier will target small investments in companies with strong potential to generate growth, employment, and climate action, and to empower women and girls.

“ADB Frontier is a meaningful scaling up of ADB’s private sector operations in frontier market countries facing unique development challenges,” said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury. “The new fund will enable ADB to invest in companies that are potentially tomorrow’s leading employers, and which can lead the fight against climate change and develop innovative ways to improve the lives of women and girls.”

The facility’s pilot operations will be in Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and will explore opportunities in Fiji and the Pacific. ADB has already committed to supporting the following businesses: 

  • The Green (Lao PDR), which produces organic eggs for local and export markets. The company has adopted technology-enabled solutions that increase farmers’ incomes and help them adapt to climate change. 

  • Otago (Cambodia), which makes smokeless char-briquettes for street food vendors and small restaurants. Otago avoids deforestation by using discarded coconut husks.

  • Slow Coffee (Lao PDR), which promotes biodiversity on coffee farms by growing and protecting native plants and trees. Its agroforests capture carbon and help local farmers to earn sustainable, fair, and equitable livelihoods.

During its 2023–2024 pilot operations, ADB Frontier plans to deploy $2 million to support up to 15 companies. The recipients will use the funds to scale up their operations while building capacity to pitch for and receive new investments. ADB Frontier will retain the right to make follow-on investments in all supported companies.

ADB Frontier addresses a market gap for risk capital in Asia and the Pacific’s frontier markets through equity investments, debt financing, and technical assistance. Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance through Khmer Enterprise, the Republic of Korea Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Lao PDR Ministry of Finance have pledged funding and in-kind contributions to the pilot, alongside ADB. 

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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