Finance Sector

ADB supports developing a well-regulated, stable and competitive financial sector across Asia and the Pacific that can effectively mobilize finance for sustainable development, strengthen resilience, and expand financial inclusion to help to end poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change.

Finance Sector in Asia

The financial sector landscape in Asia and the Pacific has been rapidly changing. One key change is the accelerating digitalization of financial services. There is also an increasing emphasis on climate finance, particularly on alignment with the Paris Agreement and building financial frameworks to address additional risks, including climate-elated disasters and pandemics such COVID-19.

Existing problems in the sector persist, such as a lack of long-term finance for infrastructure. limited financial access among households and small businesses, particularly those led by women, is also a challenge. As ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs) strive to maintain financial stability in the wake of COVID-19, they will also have to enhance financial inclusion and access, along with creating an enabling environment for digitalization of finance. They must also develop their financial markets, including capital markets, and strengthen the institutional investor base to provide long-term financing. This is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build quality infrastructure. Stable financing is also needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change, address disasters, and cope with pandemics.


New Financing Models

To support emerging areas such as green and blue financing, climate finance, and agricultural value chain finance, private sources of funding should be mobilized by: (i) creating a pipeline of bankable green projects through a facilities approach; (ii) developing and utilizing diverse innovative green financial instruments; (iii) developing and implementing globally aligned green taxonomies and frameworks; (iv) catalyzing financing for projects designed to protect and restore marine ecosystems (blue financing); (v) aligning ADB’s investments and lending portfolio (sovereign and non-sovereign) with the Paris Agreement to make the organization’s finance flows consistent with a credible transition pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development; and (vi) creating an enabling environment and building the capacity of financial institutions for agricultural value chain financing.


Promoting Long-term Finance and Quality Infrastructure

To fill the financing gap for infrastructure investment, long-term private finance should be promoted by: (i) developing domestic capital markets by establishing capital market infrastructure, adopting international standards for regulatory and supervisory frameworks, and enhancing corporate governance; (ii) developing contractual savings institutions such as insurance companies and pension funds; (iii) promoting infrastructure as an asset class by improving DMCs’ ability to measure and maintain historical data on infrastructure asset performance; (iv) achieving quality infrastructure through stronger infrastructure governance among DMCs and enhanced infrastructure maintenance; and (v) preparing bankable projects and creating an environment to “crowd in” institutional investors and foreign investors.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
An engineer monitors Lao PDR’s 1070 MW Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant. Photo: Ariel Javellana/ADB

Leveraging Digital Technology to Deliver Financial Services for Financial Inclusion

Digitalization of finance and financial inclusion should be promoted by: (i) evaluating, designing, and implementing enabling digital infrastructure, including information and communication infrastructure, national digital ID systems, and interoperable payment systems; (ii) providing funding and capacity building for adoption of digital technologies in finance; (iii) establishing a legal and regulatory framework to promote competition and partnership between fintechs and financial institutions; (iv) addressing the risks and problems involving digitalization of finance; (v) supporting DMCs’ efforts to promote and invest in fintech; and (vi) ensuring that adequate and affordable financial services are available to migrants and working towards reducing the average transaction cost of migrant remittances.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Cloud-based banking enables mobile banking services, providing people with easier access to their money. Photo:ADB

Expanding Financing to MSMEs and Women

Support to financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and women should be expanded by: (i) strengthening the capacity of banks in originating and monitoring MSME loans; (ii) providing credit to MSMEs through fintech and alternative credit scoring systems; (iii) enhancing secured lending regimes through reliable collateral registry and efficient contract enforcement mechanisms; (iv) developing credit bureaus and publicly available credit risk databases; (v) expanding the coverage of ADB’s microfinance program; (vi) leveraging credit enhancement products to attract private funds and capital market resources; (vii) developing performance guarantee schemes for MSMEs; (viii) designing and establishing capital market ecosystems for start-ups and ventures; (ix) expanding the range of microfinance services and utilizing crowdfunding; and (x) supporting activities of women microentrepreneurs.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Loans from Access bank has enabled small bussinesses a chance to develop and grow. Photo:Daro Sulakauri/ADB

Disaster and Epidemic Risk Financing

To manage the economic and fiscal impacts of disasters, DMCs should establish a national framework for disaster risk financing by: (i) preparing disaster financial planning through development of policies and financial instruments that allow governments to secure access to financing for relief, recovery, and reconstruction efforts; (ii) providing a wider portfolio of risk transfer and insurance solutions through disaster insurance pool programs; (iii) increasing investment in disaster risk reduction through creation of bankable disaster risk reduction projects; and (v) creating and implementing regional public goods to help DMCs deal with epidemic or pandemic disease.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
An elderly receives the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine dose at Korean Hospital in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Photo:Narendra Shrestha/ADB

Strengthening the Finance Sector

Support to strengthen finance sector fundamentals; financial stability and integrity; and regional financial cooperation will be continued. The foundations for finance sector development and the banking sector should be strengthened by: (i) developing central banking and public debt markets; (ii) building and maintaining a reliable financial infrastructure; and (iii) enhancing the banking system through upgrading of the regulatory and supervisory framework and promotion of sound governance and risk management.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Hamkorbank provides subloans to small business in project with ADB. Photo:Relisa Granovskaya/ADB

The financial stability and integrity of DMCs can be improved by: (i) designing and implementing macro-prudential and micro-prudential policies; (ii) examining deposit insurance; (iii) Ensuring the soundness of important financial institutions; and (iv) building nonperforming loan resolution frameworks. Regional financial cooperation can be promoted by: (i) supporting regional initiatives to build resilient regional financial markets and enhance regional financial safety nets; (ii) supporting subregional groups, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN+3, and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation program; and (iii) exploring regional frameworks in disaster risk financing.

Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program (TSCFP)

Photo: Asian Development Bank

ADB's TSCFP fills market gaps for trade and supply chain finance by providing guarantees and loans to banks to support trade. Backed by its AAA credit rating, ADB’s TSCFP works with over 200 partner banks to provide companies with the financial support they need to engage in import and export activities in Asia’s most challenging markets.

Operational Priorities

Book cover: Strategy 2030 - Achieving a Prosperous, Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Asia and the Pacific

Strategy 2030 sets seven operational priorities, each having its own operational plan. The operational plans contribute to ADB’s vision to achieve prosperity, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability, and are closely aligned with Strategy 2030 principles and approaches.

Finance Sector Directional Guide

Book cover: Strategy 2030 Finance Sector Directional Guide

This Finance Sector Directional Guide provides the strategic direction of the Asian Development Bank for the finance sector.


Profile Photo: Junkyu Lee
Junkyu Lee

Director, Finance