What Is the Asian Development Bank?

The Asian Development Bank's primary mission is to foster growth and cooperation among countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. Founded in 1966 and based in Manila, Philippines, the ADB assists members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.

The ADB has been responsible for major projects in the region and raises capital regularly through the international bond markets. The ADB also relies on member contributions, retained earnings from lending, and the repayment of loans for the funding of the organization.

Key Takeaways

  • The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) primary mission is to promote economic growth and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region. 
  • The majority of the ADB’s members are in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The ADB provides assistance to its developing member countries, the private sector, and public-private partnerships through grants, loans, technical assistance, and equity investments to promote development. 

How the Asian Development Bank Works

The Asian Development Bank provides assistance to its developing member countries, the private sector, and public-private partnerships through grants, loans, technical assistance, and equity investments to promote development. The ADB regularly facilitates policy dialogues and provides advisory services. They also use co-financing operations that tap official, commercial, and export credit sources while providing assistance.

Membership in the ADB is open to members and associate members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. It's also open to other regional countries and non-regional developed countries that are members of the U.N. or of any of its specialized agencies. 

Recent Initiatives

Since early 2020, the ADB has committed more than US$17.5 billion to help its developing member countries address the impacts of the 2020 crisis and address vaccination needs, and has mobilized a further $12.5 billion in co-financing from partners. Through a $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, or APVAX, announced in December 2020, the ADB is providing funding for vaccine procurement, logistics, and distribution.

ADB Members

From 31 members at its establishment in 1966, ADB has since grown to 68 members—of which 49 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside. Membership as of July 2021 includes:

ADB Regional Members
Member Year of membership
Afghanistan 1966
Armenia 2005
Australia 1966
Azerbaijan 1999
Bangladesh 1973
Bhutan 1982
Brunei Darussalam 2006
Cambodia 1966
Cook Islands 1976
Federated States of Micronesia 1990
Fiji 1970
Georgia 2007
Hong Kong, China 1969
India 1966
Indonesia 1966
Japan 1966
Kazakhstan 1994
Kiribati 1974
Kyrgyz Republic 1994
Lao People's Democratic Republic 1966
Malaysia 1966
Maldives 1978
Marshall Islands 1990
Mongolia 1991
Myanmar 1973
Nauru 1991
Nepal 1966
New Zealand 1966
Niue 2019
Pakistan 1966
Palau 2003
Papua New Guinea 1971
People's Republic of China 1986
Philippines 1966
Republic of Korea 1966
Samoa 1966
Singapore 1966
Solomon Islands 1973
Sri Lanka 1966
Taipei,China 1966
Tajikistan 1998
Thailand 1966
Timor-Leste 2002
Tonga 1972
Turkmenistan 2000
Tuvalu 1993
Uzbekistan 1995
Vanuatu 1981
Viet Nam 1966
Source: Asian Development Bank
ADB Non-Regional Members
Member Year of membership
Austria 1966
Belgium 1966
Canada 1966
Denmark 1966
Finland 1966
France 1970
Germany 1966
Ireland 2006
Italy 1966
Luxembourg 2003
Netherlands 1966
Norway 1966
Portugal 2002
Spain 1986
Sweden 1966
Switzerland 1967
Turkey 1991
United Kingdom 1966
United States 1966
Source: Asian Development Bank

Structure of the Asian Development Bank

The Agreement Establishing the Asian Development Bank, known as the ADB Charter, vests all the powers of the institution in the Board of Governors, which in turn delegates some of these powers to the Board of Directors. The Board of Governors meets formally once a year during ADB's Annual Meeting. The ADB's highest policy-making body is its Board of Governors, which comprises one representative from each member.

The two largest shareholders of the Asian Development Bank are the United States and Japan. Although the majority of the Bank's members are from the Asia-Pacific region, the industrialized nations are also well-represented. Regional development banks usually work in harmony with both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in their activities.

The two largest shareholders of the Asian Development Bank are the United States and Japan.