MANILA, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday it tripled the size of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic to 20 billion U.S. dollars and approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance.
File photo: CGTN
The Manila-based bank said the package expands ADB's 6.5 billion U.S. dollars initial response announced on March 18, adding 13.5 billion U.S. dollars in resources to help ADB's developing members counter the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by COVID-19.
The new package includes about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in concessional and grant resources, the ADB said.
This pandemic threatens to severely set back economic, social, and development gains in Asia and the Pacific, reverse progress on poverty reduction, and throw economies into recession, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a statement.
He added the expanded and comprehensive package of assistance, made possible with the strong support of our Board, will be delivered more quickly, flexibly, and forcefully to the governments and the private sector in the developing members to help them address the urgent challenges in tackling the pandemic and economic downturn.
According to the ADB, the new package includes the establishment of a COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option under ADB's Countercyclical Support Facility.
It added that up to 13 billion U.S. dollars will be provided through this new option to help governments of developing members implement effective countercyclical expenditure programs to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on the poor and the vulnerable.
It further said that grant resources will continue to be deployed quickly for providing medical and personal protective equipment and supplies from expanded procurement sources.
The bank said some 2 billion U.S. dollars from the 20 billion U.S. dollars package will be made available for the private sector. Loans and guarantees will be provided to financial institutions to rejuvenate trade and supply chains, the ADB said.
The ADB said enhanced micro-finance loan and guarantee support and a facility to help liquidity-starved small and medium-sized enterprises, including those run by female entrepreneurs, will be implemented alongside direct financing of companies responding to, or impacted by, COVID-19.
The response package also includes a number of adjustments to policies and business processes that will allow ADB to respond more rapidly and flexibly to the crisis.
These include measures to streamline internal business processes, widen the eligibility and scope of various support facilities, and make the terms and conditions of lending more tailored, the bank said.
The ADB said that all support under the expanded package will be provided in close collaboration with international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other UN agencies as well as the broader global community.
ADB's most recent assessment, released on April 3, estimated the global impact of the pandemic at between 2.3 percent and 4.8 percent of gross domestic product. Regional growth is forecast to decline from 5.2 percent last year to 2.2 percent in 2020.