Asian Development Bank to give $6.5 billion to developing member countries for coronavirus response

Asian Development Bank to give $6.5 billion to developing member countries for coronavirus response
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced it would give $6.5 billion in an initial package to help developing member countries respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ADB is collaborating with the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among other agencies, to provide the money to address the “immediate needs” of developing countries that might not have the resources to deal with the health and financial ramifications.

“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,” a press release from the bank says.

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The bank classifies almost 40 member countries and territories as “developing,” including Cambodia, Pakistan and the Philippines. These developing countries are expected to face “sharp declines” in demand, tourism, business travel, trade and production in addition to health effects as a result of the coronavirus.

The package would encompass $3.6 billion for sovereign operations to respond to the “health and economic consequences” and $1.6 billion for non-sovereign operations for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and companies directly impacted by the virus.

It also includes $1 billion for concessional resources reallocated from other projects and $40 million in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.

The U.S. government, which has been a non-regional member of the bank since 1966, is the leading stakeholder in the bank, with more than 15 percent subscribed capital and more than 12 percent voting power, according to the ADB

ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in the release the bank would provide additional “financial assistance and policy advice ... as the situation warrants.” The bank is also seeking to speed up access to emergency budget support and procedures to provide policy advice. 

“The pandemic demands a coordinated response and strong collaboration among countries and organizations,” the release stated.

The ADB says it has already given $225 million to governments and businesses in developing countries so far during the coronavirus pandemic. The bank said it is collaborating with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the World Health Organization, the CDC and “major bilateral funding agencies.”