As the spread of the coronavirus across the globe poses serious economic challenges, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Monday announced that it would triple the size of its financial assistance package to developing countries to $20 billion. In a statement, the multilateral agency said that it has also approved measures to streamline operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance to support the developing economies.
On March 18, ADB announced a $6.5-billion initial response package while adding $13.5 billion in resources to help its developing member-countries combat the severe macroeconomic and health challenges caused by the deadly COVID-19.
"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. The “expanded and comprehensive package of assistance” will be delivered more quickly, flexibly, and forcefully to the governments and the private sector in its developing member countries to help them address the urgent challenges in tackling the pandemic and economic downturn, he added.
The new package includes the establishment of a COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility. Of the total package of $20 billion, about $2 billion will be made available for the private sector and loans and guarantees will be provided to financial institutions to rejuvenate trade and supply chains.
The multilateral agency in the statement added that up to $13 billion will be provided through this new option to help governments of developing member countries implement effective countercyclical expenditure programmes to mitigate impacts of the pandemic with a particular focus on the poor and the vulnerable. It also said that grant resources will continue to be deployed quickly for providing medical and personal protective equipment and supplies from expanded procurement sources.
According to the ADB’s estimate, the global impact of the pandemic could be between 2.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent of gross domestic product.
It has projected a decline in regional growth from 5.2 per cent last year to 2.2 per cent in 2020..