The Effectiveness of DFID’s Engagement with the Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank’s work is important to DFID’s mission, since nearly three-quarters of the world’s poor live in Asia, including in its middle-income countries. We assess the effectiveness of DFID’s engagement with the Bank.

As a shareholder, the UK has a positive influence on ADB’s strategy, policy and internal reform – however, these are yet to result in ADB achieving its own impact targets. Through the replenishment of the ADF, DFID has promoted a continuing focus on inclusive growth, gender, climate change and operational effectiveness.

In order to improve ADB’s delivery of outcomes, DFID needs to influence the Bank to improve project management and real-time monitoring. As a co-financier, DFID engages effectively with ADB to develop country strategies and co-ordinate amongst donors. DFID should, however, provide greater support to ADB during implementation to improve the performance of co-financed projects, particularly in areas where ADB has less expertise.

Our review is more critical than the Multilateral Aid Review’s (MAR’s) conclusions in respect of ADB, largely reflecting our greater concentration on project delivery.

As a result of our findings this review has been marked Green-Amber.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Where DFID is co-financing projects with ADB, it should be clear about the relative contributions of each partner, strengthen its initial risk assessment and resource accordingly and improve its real-time monitoring and evaluation.

Recommendation 2: As a shareholder, DFID should concentrate its influence on improving the impact of ADB and ADF projects, in particular by strengthening project design, implementation and independent evaluation.

Recommendation 3: Ad hoc discussions between DFID country offices, DFID headquarters and the UK representative in ADB headquarters should be formalised in quarterly strategic reviews for the five DFID focus countries where ADB activity is significant.

Recommendation 4: DFID needs to ensure that it always has the right information to make choices about when and how to work with ADB. If DFID wishes to use the MAR for this purpose, then future MARs should consider the capabilities of multilateral agencies on the ground across a range of countries, capabilities and project types.