fbpx Images from ADB's History Book | Asian Development Bank

Images from ADB's History Book

Video | 4 May 2017

A brief look at ADB's past through images from a new book on its 50-year history.


In the early 1960s there was a vision. 

An Asian Bank that would foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions on earth.

Early ideas were shared at a UN ECAFE meeting in New Zealand in March 1965.

Later that year, the foundation for the Bank’s first headquarters was laid in Manila. 

From the outset ADB was a multilateral organization.

The first President was Takeshi Watanabe, he led ADB until 1972.

In its early years ADB focused on food production and rural development.

As Asia’s economies moved from agrarian to industrial, ADB’s assistance expanded into the social sector, as well as energy and transport.

“This history book is about ADB’s story over these 50 years, but it is also about the history of development in Asia and the Pacific,” says ADB President Takehiko Nakao.

“It discusses how countries in the region have tackled various challenges and transformed. It also discusses how ADB has evolved to support poverty reduction and development in the region.

“I trust you will find this book interesting and useful,” President Nakao concludes. 

ADB’s support for the region through turbulent times such as devastating natural disasters and the 1997 Asian financial crisis has been recognized. 

ADB has provided financing and expertise to help businesses grow and empower women.

It is responding to the growing threat of climate change by doubling its climate financing and tripling its equity base to boost assistance by nearly 50% by 2020.

“It has embodied the ideas of Asian leaders from the mid-60s through to today, fifty years later,” explains author Peter McCawley.

“And it’s actually done that very well.”

But much still needs to be done in a region where 330 million people still live in absolute poverty.

The infrastructure gap is huge: Asia needs $1.7 trillion a year for at least the next decade.

President Takehiko Nakao is building a stronger, better, and faster ADB to continue to meet the needs of developing member countries and their leaders.

On its 50thanniversary ADB and its 3,000 staff are proud to have been part of Asia’s incredible transition from poverty to wider prosperity.

Asia’s ongoing development journey will be challenging.

But lessons from the past, as captured in ADB’s history book, will help guide and shape its future.