Coronavirus: ADB announces USD 6.5 bn package for developing member countries

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday announced a USD 6.5 billion package for its developing member countries to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The initial package has been announced to address the immediate needs of developing member countries (DMCs) as they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, ADB said in a statement.

Manila-headquartered ADB works towards sustainable development and poverty eradication in Asia and the Pacific region.

“This pandemic has become a major global crisis. It requires forceful action at national, regional and global levels,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said.

“With our developing member countries, we are formulating an aggressive set of actions to combat the pandemic; to protect the poor, the vulnerable, and wider populations across the region; and to ensure economies will rebound as swiftly as possible.

“Based on close dialogue with our members and peer institutions, we are deploying this USD 6.5 billion rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members,” he added.

Asawaka said ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants.

The multilateral funding agency said the pandemic demands a coordinated response and strong collaboration among countries and organisations.

ADB will further strengthen its close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the World Health Organization and major bilateral funding agencies, including the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

It will also include the US Centers for Disease Control and private sector organisations, to ensure effective implementation of its COVID-19 response.

ADB said it will seek adjustment in its financing instruments and business processes to provide the support package for its developing member countries (DMCs) as quickly and flexibly as possible.

“Subject to approval by ADB’s board of directors, this will include faster access to emergency budget support for economies facing severe fiscal constraints, streamlined procedures for policy-based lending, and universal procurement with flexible and faster processes,” the release said.

This initial package of USD 6.5 billion includes around USD 3.6 billion in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic and USD 1.6 billion in non-sovereign operations for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms that are directly impacted.

ADB said it will also mobilise about USD 1 billion in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies.

“ADB will make available USD 40 million in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.” it added.

Since its first response to the COVID-19 situation on February 7, ADB already provided more than USD 225 million to meet urgent needs of both governments and businesses in DMCs.

The funding agency will publish estimates of the economic impact of the pandemic in its Asian Development Outlook 2020 on April 1, 2020.

Earlier on March 6, it had published an initial economic analysis for the region, and said the global economy may suffer losses of USD 77-347 billion due to the virus outbreak and Asia may be impacted significantly.

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