The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday announced a US$ 6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries (DMCs) as they respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The initial package includes approximately US$ 3.6 billion in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and US$1.6 billion in non sovereign operations for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms directly impacted.
ADB also announced that it would mobilize about US$ 1 billion in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies.
ADB would make available US$ 40 million in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.
“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 US$ 6.5 billion rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said.
In order provide the support package to DMCs as quickly and flexibly as possible, ADB stated that it would seek adjustment in its financing instruments and business processes.
“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,” ADB stated.
While emphasised that pandemic demands a coordinated response and strong collaboration among countries and organizations, ADB stated that it would 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, as well as the US Centres for Disease Control and private sector organizations, to ensure effective implementation of its COVID-19 response.
Since its first COVID-19 response on 7 February 2020, ADB has already provided more than US$ 225 million to meet urgent needs of both governments and businesses in DMCs.
ADB is also scheduled to publish updated estimates of the economic impact of the pandemic in its Asian Development Outlook 2020 to be released on 1 April 2020.