Much of the global energy transition currently underway is driven by Asia’s demand. This presents the region with a unique, perhaps even historical opportunity to move toward a higher level of socioeconomic development dubbed the Asian Century. The Asian Century, though, must be inclusive. It must not leave behind the poor, women, and disadvantaged groups.

Let us not forget that while Asia has experienced remarkable progress in the last few decades, it is also the region where many of the world’s ‘energy-poor’—over 1 billion people without access to electricity, with women comprising the majority—live. Women are also the largest group among those excluded from the benefits of the region’s economic expansion. All this has important implications for the energy sector. Since I joined ADB in 2009, the importance of energy access for poverty reduction and the nexus between gender equality, social inclusion —