AIIB President Jin vows to fund healthcare requirements
COVID-19 exposed the weakest link in the global economy
MANILA – AIIB President Jin Liqun said the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on nations and economies worldwide.
Speaking at the First Manila Forum jointly sponsored by the Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU) and the Chinese Embassy in Manila, AIIB’s two-term President Jin said while there are signs of tentative recovery, much will depend on infection rates containment measures and policy responses.
“COVID-19 exposed our weaknesses and shed light on crucial areas of our economic and social development, particularly in healthcare. The health sector stood out as the weakest link in our global economics,” he explained.
He said the underfunding in both developing and developed countries led to the crippling of the healthcare system either globally or individually.
President Jin added the international community has learned the lesson the hard way and faced human suffering.
President Jin went on to describe COVID-19 as a “roadblock to world growth.”
“AIIB lost no time in providing vitally important financing to countries in need. We are doing something extraordinary under extraordinary circumstances as we are resilient and have maximized the use of technology and partnered with the global community to help revive the economy in fighting COVID-19,” he added.
He said new instruments and co-financing mechanisms which provided assistance through the AIIB crisis recovery facility as early as April last year for some US$13 billion worth of financing to both public and private sector entities to fund immediate healthcare sector requirements such as medical equipment and supplies to combat the pandemic.
The AIIB has approved nine projects to help AIIB members navigate the highly sensitive conditions with US$7.55 billion out of the available US$13 billion approved by its Board of Directors.
“Out of the US$7.55 billion, US$5.77 billion have been availed by members in need of assistance by end-February this year,” he said. The AIIB, according to President Jin has approved a US$750 million loan to address the impact on public health and other negative effects of the pandemic. He explained the loan was co-financed with the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) to further boost the testing capability and assist the vulnerable sectors, including Agriculture and provide conditional cash transfers for poor households and a million micro, small and medium enterprises where 58% are owned by women.
He said AIIB will provide the necessary assistance to its members to further improve their respective health care systems in order to sustain growth and development after the pandemic.
The Manila Forum had former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, APCU Chairman Emeritus, delivering the opening remarks which focused on the close relations between the Philippines and China. Trade and Investment Secretary Ramon Lopez discussed the existing business and investments condition between China and the Philippines while Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian underscored President Xi Jinping’s message at the Davos Agenda last January where he emphasized the need for enhanced international cooperation to win over the pandemic as he pushed for fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. (Melo M. Acuna)
AIIB President Jin Liqun. (Screen grab from APCU's Manila Forum/Melo M. Acuna)