ADB's COVID-19 response reaches $9.3b in last six months
Economic Reporter :
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed $9.3 billion in financial resources in the last six months since early February when ADB started its initial response to support its developing member countries and the private sector to address the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In addition, development partners committed $4.6 billion in co-financing.
The ADB financing is part of its $20 billion total assistance package for COVID-19 response announced on April 13, said an ADB press release.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact across our developing member countries and has affected the global economy in unprecedented ways," said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
"We are directing all possible resources to fight the pandemic and have responded with speed and scale to provide positive financial flow and help the region recover as quickly as possible," he added.
As of July 31, about $7.8 billion of the total $9.3 billion committed in ADB financing is supporting governments' efforts that directly address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of these funds have been provided through the new COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO), totaling to $6.9 billion under ADB's Countercyclical Support Facility.
As of July 31, some 16 countries had availed of the CPRO, established to support developing member countries' countercyclical expenditure programs to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic with particular focus on boosting safety nets for the jobless and helping poor and vulnerable groups, especially women and children.
The release said some $58.6 million has been provided to support private companies in their COVID-19 responses, including direct financing in March to a medical equipment logistics firm in Wuhan, the People's Republic of China. In addition, ADB committed $1.3 billion for trade finance, supply chain finance, and microfinance programs.
Since the earliest stages of the outbreak in February, ADB has extended $86.6 million in technical assistance to 41 developing member countries to address their most urgent needs in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
The funds have helped procure personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and gowns; diagnostic and medical equipment such as ventilators and nebulizers; provide training to frontline health workers; and strengthen hospitals and laboratories.
This technical assistance support was complemented by quick-disbursing grants from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund (APDRF) to meet immediate humanitarian and health emergency expenses including medical equipment and supplies. As of July 31, ADB allocated a total of $37.8 million in grants from APDRF to 22 member countries.
To ensure funds are delivered with speed, ADB adjusted its business processes and widened the eligibility and scope of various support facilities.
ADB is closely coordinating all of its COVID-19 support activities with partners including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, bilateral institutions, and the United Nations system.
ADB has incorporated technical and policy advice from the World Health Organization to ensure its support.
Building on its extensive knowledge work, ADB has been delivering up-to-date assessments about the pandemic's economic impact and providing policy advice and other resources to tackle many pressing development challenges.
"We will continue to strive for timely and impactful actions to help our developing member countries overcome this crisis and are looking ahead in our policy response to beyond so that we can build back better and they will emerge from it stronger than before," said Asakawa.