Asian Development Bank

Trends and opportunities

The Market

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was established in the Philippines’ capital, Manila, in 1966, with a mission to improve people’s lives in Asia and the Pacific. Through targeted investments and in partnership with developing member countries and other stakeholders, it aims to alleviate poverty, to create a world where everyone can share the benefits of sustained and inclusive growth. Of the ADB’s 67 member nations, 48 are located in the Asia Pacific region. Australia is the fourth-largest shareholder in the region, and fifth-largest overall.

The ADB’s long term strategic framework known as Strategy 2020 focuses on inclusive social development, environmental sustainability and regional cooperation for poverty reduction through 5 core specialisations.

These are:

  • infrastructure
  • environment (including climate change)
  • regional cooperation and integration
  • financial sector development
  • education

Development assistance is provided to member governments and other partners through the ADB’s main instruments of loans, technical assistance and grants.

In 2016, the lending volume was A$16.35 billion over 126 projects, with technical assistance (TA) accounting for A$ 169.03 million (225 projects) and grant-financed projects A$ 526.75 million (31 projects). In addition, A$ 14.06 billion was generated in direct value-added co-financing. The ADB can also use guarantees and equity investments to assist its developing member countries (DMCs).

Funding is used to prepare projects, provide advice to member countries, implement projects and support other regional activities. These undertakings fall into the ADB’s project cycle, which involves:

  • developing a country-specific strategy
  • preparing agreed projects for possible financing
  • independently evaluating these proposals
  • project implementation
  • a final evaluation in relation to the initial strategy

At each stage of the project cycle, there are opportunities for consultancy, technical assistance, staff consulting, grants, loans and institutional procurement. As part of Strategy 2020, the ADB is emphasising the role of public-private partnerships and private sector engagement, particularly in its infrastructure operations (Source: Asian Development Bank, ‘ Asian Development Bank & Australia fact sheet ' , April 2017 ).


With more than A$ 31.7 billion allocated across Asia in a variety of sectors, working with the ADB can unlock the door for continued business opportunities in a number of emerging economies.

Almost all ADB projects rely on consultants and contractors. While most of the lending is provided to the public sector through member governments, the ADB does engage private enterprises in developing countries through the provision of loans, equity investments and guarantees. This process is aided by the ADB’s AAA credit rating, which helps to mobilise funds for development activities.

The organisation’s fundamental principles of transparency, fairness, economy and efficiency, and the promotion of domestic industry means it has stringent procurement guidelines.

These cover two areas:

  • policies and procedures on the selection, contracting and monitoring of consultants
  • policies and procedures for the procurement of goods and works

There are a number of reasons why firms pursue contracts with the ADB:

  • Funding is readily available
  • The ADB uses internationally accepted procurement processes
  • All bidders are treated equally
  • The ADB maintains oversight of all its projects.

Getting involved

Business intelligence can be collected through consultancy recruitment notices, country partnership strategies and county operations business plans. Registering on the ADB’s Consultant Management System provides access to opportunity alerts on upcoming projects.

Each year, the ADB holds a number of events which provide background information and are a useful way to network and find out about upcoming projects. It may also be useful to visit the ADB’s headquarters in Manila, or the executing agency in the country where the project will be carried out. Some companies choose to raise their profile by organising seminars and information sessions for relevant ADB stakeholders to showcase their services.

Austrade has developed a targeted initiative and series of activities aimed at connecting the Asian Development Bank with relevant Australian expertise, technology and services in key priority sectors, including transport, urban development, education, energy, healthcare and agribusiness. For more information on the forward calendar of seminars, webinars and missions, please contact Ms Sheila Trance, Austrade Manila on

Australia and the ADB

Australia contributed A$ 8.26 billion in capital subscription as of 31st December 2016, and committed more than A$ 2.14 billion towards special funds resources. Australia is currently represented on the ADB Board and its Executive. Australian companies have been awarded A$ 2.37 billion in procurement contracts since 1967.

While opportunities exist for Australian companies across the spectrum of the ADB’s project cycle, business support in the areas of consultancy, staff consultancy, technical assistance and supplier/contractor services have traditionally been held in high regard by the ADB. In the past five years, Australian consultants were among the highest earners in terms of providing Project Loans and Technical Assistance to the ADB, working on projects amounting to A$ 1.45 billion.

In the procurement of goods and work, Australia contractors and suppliers were awarded A$ 327.25 million as of January 1966. Local firms or companies with close ties to the country undertaking the project are still the main recipients. Leading suppliers include China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. Partnerships should be forged in this area.

Links and industry contacts

ADB Business Opportunities
Asian Development Bank
Consultant Management Services – consulting opportunities
Consulting Services Manual
Goods and Works Guidelines
Project Cycle

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.

Subscribe to Export Update

The latest in export news and events, success stories, plus information to help Australian exporters do business around the world.


Success stories

Austrade has profiled over 100 companies from a range of industries and markets, all over Australia.

Find out more...