The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday announced a $6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries (DMCs) as they respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"This pandemic has become a major global crisis. It requires forceful action at national, regional, and global levels," said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
"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."
The ADB President added: "Based on close dialogue with our members and peer institutions, we are deploying this $6.5 billion rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members."
Asawaka stressed that "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."
The initial package will include approximately $3.6 billion in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and $1.6 billion in nonsovereign operations for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms directly impacted.
ADB will also mobilize about $1 billion in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies.
The organisation will make $40 million avilable in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants. ADB will seek adjustment in its financing instruments and business processes to provide the support package to DMCs as quickly and flexibly as possible.
The support package is subject to approval by ADB's Board of Directors. It will include faster access to emergency budget support for economies facing severe fiscal constraints, streamlined procedures for policy-based lending, and universal procurement with flexible and faster processes.
To ensure effective implementation of its COVID-19 response, ADB will further strengthen its close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the World Health Organization.
It also collaborate with major bilateral funding agencies including the Japan International Cooperation Agency, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and private sector organizations.
ADB has provided more than $225 million till now to meet urgent needs of both governments and businesses in DMCs since its first COVID-19 response.