MANILA — Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa on Wednesday announced $6.5 billion to “meet the immediate needs” of ADB’s developing member countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The financial package is for member countries responding to the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has thus far affected over 160 countries and territories.
Globally, there were 179,112 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7,426 deaths as of Tuesday. Over 60% of confirmed cases are from World Health Organization regions where ADB member countries reside.
The multibillion-dollar package includes $3.6 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance to ADB developing member countries to address the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, $1.6 billion will be provided to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; domestic and regional trade; and firms directly impacted by the pandemic. As a “nonsovereign operation,” the money can come in the form of loans, guarantees, equity investments, or other financing arrangements to private entities established or operating in an ADB member country.
The package also includes $1 billion in concessional resources “through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies” and $40 million for technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants, according to a news release.
“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,” Asakawa said.
The bank is awaiting approval from its board of directors to adjust its financing instruments and business processes to ensure the fast delivery of the package, which comes in addition to the over $225 million in grants and loans the bank has already announced for the response to date. This includes $1.4 million in reallocated funding from a health project in Mongolia, also announced on Wednesday. That money will help Mongolia procure medical equipment for the early detection, emergency care, and management of severe respiratory diseases, strengthening its preparedness for COVID-19. The country had four confirmed cases of the disease as of Tuesday.
ADB had earlier estimated the global economic impact of the outbreak to be in the range of $77 billion to $347 billion. China is projected to be the hardest hit, while the other developing countries in Asia would experience losses of $22 billion under a “moderate-case scenario,” in which travel bans and precautionary behavior subside after three months.