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ADB stepped up support for Covid-19 response last year

FE ONLINE DESK | Monday, 30 May 2022


The Asian Development Bank’s private sector operations stepped up support for the region’s response to the Covid-19 last year, dedicating 78 per cent of $4.3 billion in the total project and programme commitments.

The lending agency expanded the support to help developing member countries manage the pandemic’s economic and social impacts, according to ADB’s Private Sector Operations in 2021 – Report on Development Effectiveness.

The report was released on Monday from Manila in the Philippines.

According to the report, ADB extended $3.3 billion in the project and programme assistance to help tackle pandemic impacts, including support for agribusinesses, private health care providers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and transport operators.

“Over $2.8 billion was committed for Covid-19-related assistance under ADB’s Trade and Supply Chain Finance Programme, including support for intraregional trade and efficient distribution of medicines and medical equipment. Total cofinancing mobilised for pandemic-related support reached $5.5 billion,” according to a statement that cited the new report.

“The private sector will play a vital role in helping Asia and the Pacific’s communities and economies to recover from the pandemic,” said ADB Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public-Private Partnerships Ashok Lavasa.

“ADB’s work with the private sector is mobilising high-impact capital and delivering new technologies to help countries build back better, secure strong and clean economic growth, and meet their development goals.”

Milestones for ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department in 2021 were pioneer investments in animal health in India, affordable housing in Georgia, and support to scale up bank financing for women-led SMEs in Viet Nam.

ADB Ventures made seven equity investments in early-stage businesses, with a focus on technology solutions to climate change. The Microfinance Programme extended its highest-ever annual volume of loans, lending $482.5 million to microfinance institutions which on-lent the funds to 1.5 million individual borrowers.

There were 35 new projects committed in 2021, with investments totalling $1.2 billion. In line with the department’s operational plan, 80 per cent of committed projects directly promote gender equality, more than half of its operations were in new and frontier markets, and over a third support climate change mitigation and adaptation. Long-term cofinancing of almost $1.8 billion helped ADB achieve $2.2 raised for every $1 of its resources.

Projects committed in 2021 are expected to deliver 1.1 million Covid-19 tests each year, reduce more than 560,800 tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, and support over 622,200 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

About 40 million MSMEs and 10 million farmers have benefited from ADB’s Private Sector Operations active portfolio. These projects have also ensured the distribution of more than 372.6 million antiviral medications, created almost 520,000 jobs and is delivering over 57,800 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year.

The lending agency said, “ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.”