ADB’s First Decade (1966–1976) (updated edition)

Publication | September 2017

This first volume from the series ADB through the Decades explains how the idea of a regional development bank for Asia emerged and gained support, and how ADB established itself as a sound and credible institution.

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When ADB was established in 1966, the Asia and Pacific region was undergoing a process of deep change. Several countries gained independence and a sense of regional identity was emerging. The region was defined by poverty and feeding people remained a primary concern, even while the Green Revolution was under way. The first oil crisis in 1973 tested many Asian economies.

This volume explains the beginnings of a regional development bank for Asia. During its formative years, ADB dealt with administrative, organizational, and funding issues to establish itself as a sound and credible institution. ADB’s first President, Takeshi Watanabe, envisioned ADB’s role as Asia’s “family doctor.” The Bank conducted several studies to have a fuller understanding of the region before lending on energy, transport, agriculture, and finance gained momentum during the latter half of the first decade.

ADB through the Decades

The 5-volume publication, ADB through the Decades, provides a historical account of how ADB has evolved to respond to the dynamic changes across the Asia and Pacific region over the past 5 decades.

With the specialized report, A History of Financial Management at Asian Development Bank: Engineering Financial Innovation and Impact on an Emerging Asia, this 5-volume series serves as a companion to the ADB corporate history book to be launched in 2017. Together, these publications provide the first comprehensive corporate narrative on ADB’s history since the previous ADB history book, A Bank for Half the World, was published in 1987.


  • Regional Background
  • Birth of an Institution
  • Institutional Overview
  • Operations Overview
  • Key Strategies, Policies, and Business Processes
  • Financial Policies and Resource Mobilization Efforts
  • Lessons from Evaluation
  • Epilogue

Additional Details

  • ADB administration and governance
  • ADB@50
  • 52
  • 8.5 x 11
  • TCS178965-2
  • 978-92-9257-913-5 (Print)
  • 978-92-9257-914-2 (e-ISBN)

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