London (People's Daily) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced Wednesday a $6.5 billion initial package to help its developing member countries (DMCs) combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its news release.
"This pandemic has become a major global crisis. It requires forceful action at national, regional, and global levels,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “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 $6.5 billion rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members.”
Asakawa stressed that “ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants, on top of the $6.5 billion package.”
The initial package includes approximately $3.6 billion in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and $1.6 billion in nonsovereign operations for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms directly impacted. ADB will also mobilize about $1 billion in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies. ADB will make available $40 million in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.
To provide the support package to DMCs as quickly and flexibly as possible, ADB will 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.
The pandemic demands a coordinated response and strong collaboration among countries and organizations. 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, as well as the US Centers 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 $225 million to meet urgent needs of both governments and businesses in DMCs.
ADB will publish updated estimates of the economic impact of the pandemic in its Asian Development Outlook 2020 to be released on April 1, 2020.