ADB, JICA to strengthen collaboration to help Asia fight COVID-19

New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Shinichi Kitaoka on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen collaboration to assist ADB's developing member countries in fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Manila-headquartered Asian Development Bank (ADB) had announced a USD 20-billion assistance in April to address the needs of its ADB's developing member countries (DMCs) as they respond to COVID-19.

ADB and JICA have a long history of collaboration and partnership in a number of key areas including supporting DMCs to accelerate progress toward achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and cofinancing on quality infrastructure, said Asakawa.

'COVID-19 poses serious health, social, and economic threats to the region. It is important that we find ways to enhance our collaboration, including cofinancing, to help developing member countries address the pandemic,' Asakawa said.

In their call, the two presidents discussed the economic and social status of Asian and Pacific economies in the wake of the pandemic and their organisation's respective assistance packages, said the ADB release.

The ADB package includes USD 13 billion for quick and affordable budget support to help DMCs counter the severe macroeconomic impacts arising from the pandemic with countercyclical expenditure with the focus on the poor and the vulnerable.

About USD 2.5 billion of the package is available as concessional and grant resources, and about USD 2 billion is earmarked for loans and guarantees to the private sector to rejuvenate trade and supply chains.

ADB said it will expand its technical assistance to DMCs in designing, improving, implementing, and monitoring health and other sector actions against COVID-19.

As per the release, JICA is preparing a COVID-19 crisis response emergency support loan program to strengthen countries' capacity to respond to COVID-19 and revitalise economic activities in those hit hard by the pandemic.

Its assistance will be provided as standalone loans or cofinancing with multilateral development banks, including ADB.

ADB and JICA have a strategic partnership to cofinance USD 10 billion in quality public infrastructure investment between 2016 and 2020.

The two organisations also established in 2016 the USD 1.5 billion Leading Asia's Private Sector Infrastructure (LEAP) Trust Fund to promote private financing for infrastructure development, including through public-private partnerships.

Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. PTI NKD MKJ MKJ