Where does ADB spend its money?

North Luzon Expressway in the Philippines. In 2013, the Asian Development Bank devoted the bulk of its assistance to infrastructure and energy projects. The majority of investments remain concentrated in Southeast Asia as well. Photo by: ADB / CC BY-NC

The Asian Development Bank is known primarily for financing infrastructure projects in the region, a view that has been reinforced by the bank’s most recent multinational survey of stakeholder perceptions.

Not surprisingly, investments in infrastructure comprised the majority of ADB’s spending in 2013. According to its latest annual report, the bank approved $21 billion worth of development financing for the Asia-Pacific region in 2013. Of this, infrastructure projects made up more than 60 percent of investments, most of which were related to energy, transport and ICT.

Spending on education, health and social protection — sectors ADB identified as key to achieving inclusive growth in developing Asia — is significantly lower. Total investment in these sectors constituted less than 7 percent of approved financing in 2013.

ADB assistance by sector. View larger image.

ADB does recognize the need to shore up spending on these sectors, and has set targets for education and health in its Strategy 2020. And while 2013 spending remains low, a recently released midterm review confirms investments are steadily reaching their 2020 targets.

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About the author

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    Anna Patricia Valerio

    Anna Patricia Valerio is a Manila-based development analyst focusing on writing innovative, in-the-know content for senior executives in the international development community. Before joining Devex, Patricia wrote and edited business, technology and health stories for BusinessWorld, a Manila-based business newspaper.