ADB to provide loans for COVID-19 mitigating measures
Loans for developing member countries to tide over COVID-19 pandemic assured
MANILA – Loans in millions of dollars have been released by the Asian Development Bank since last year.
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, in his speech before ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting yesterday, said since their decision of US$20 billion support package in April last year, they have already committed US$17.4 billion through grants, technical assistance, and loans to governments and businesses.
“ADB’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option or CPRO, provides quick-disbursing budget support for countercyclical economic stimulus in our developing member countries (DMCs). So far, we have provided US$10.2 billion in CPRO to 26 countries, including US$5 billion for five ASEAN economies,” he said.
He said ADB is helping its developing member countries purchase and deliver safe and effective vaccines, swiftly and equitably.
He added the ADB launched its US$9 billion vaccine initiative and signed a US$425 million loan for the Philippines and US$450 million for Indonesia and provided grants to Afghanistan and Pacific countries with 14 additional projects worth more than US$3.8 billion, which are still in the pipeline.
President Asakawa acknowledged supply shortages are limiting vaccine availability in the region with ADB revising its vaccine eligibility criteria so that vaccines can be bought soonest from diverse sources without forfeiting safety and efficacy in consonance with World Bank and COVAX standards.
“Enhancing the vaccine production capacity is imperative to mitigate this demand-supply gap issue, and we must expand investment in vaccine manufacturers in the region, including Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam,” he added.
During the same event, President Asakawa said they will help address the digital divide as only 45% of the population in the Asia-Pacific Region is connected with the internet, “where gaps exist based on location, age, gender, skills, and cultural and social norms.”
He explained ADB signed its first-ever financing for a satellite amounting to US$50 million to provide affordable high-speed broadband connections to remote areas in the Pacific and larger island nations like Indonesia and the Philippines as early as 2019. (Melo M. Acuña)