File photo: CGTN
Beijing (People’s Daily) - Recognizing that countries with fragile infrastructure have less capacity to handle health crises, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is working to scale up infrastructure investment — including in public health, healthcare and information and communications technology (ICT) — to better serve members impacted by COVID-19.
AIIB President and Chair of the Board Jin Liqun said, “There has never been a greater need for a multilateral and truly global coordinated effort to ease the economic burden experienced by all.”
He continued, “We have a responsibility to our members who face tremendous pressure to maintain the health and safety of their citizens while managing the impact of an economic downturn. It is our duty to be flexible and responsive in a time of crisis so our members can continue investing in sanitation, healthcare and technology-enabled infrastructure.”
Recent analysis by AIIB highlights a direct correlation between quality of overall infrastructure and health security, indicating that infrastructure development is a key part of health security and pandemic preparedness. COVID-19 has exposed the critical need for countries to also ensure preparedness for the needs of an aging population.
Lower income countries are particularly vulnerable as they are already struggling to keep up with their infrastructure needs. Layering an economic downturn and additional fiscal stresses from COVID-19 on top, many of them will fall short of the 6 percent to 10 percent GDP investment needed to maintain economic growth.
Jin said, “We will work with our board of directors, members and partners to adjust to this new reality, providing scaled up and targeted investment in critical sustainable infrastructure to protect the people we serve and the generations that follow.”
AIIB will announce a number of public health infrastructure financing options for its members in the coming days and weeks, to help build up economic resilience and mitigate the impact of future health crises.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chairperson of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said, “Multilateral banks like AIIB will play a critical role in supporting countries, helping them address challenges presented by COVID-19 as they build towards sustainable long-term infrastructure development.”
“The support that a bank such as AIIB can provide its members is invaluable, reducing risks, absorbing longer-term exposures and cushioning the impact from increases in borrowing costs.”
Source: Global Health Security Index Report (2019) and the Global Competitiveness Report (2019)