Manila: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed $22.8 billion from its own resources in 2021 to help Asia and the Pacific tackle the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and promote a green recovery.
Financial and operational results were published today in ADB’s Annual Report 2021. The report summarizes how ADB supported its developing member countries (DMCs) through a combination of finance, knowledge, and partnerships.
"ADB firmly believes that addressing the impacts of the pandemic and supporting long-term development are not mutually exclusive," said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa in a press release on Monday.
"Our sustained COVID-19 response has laid the foundations for an inclusive, resilient, and green recovery, ensuring progress toward our Strategy 2030 objectives," he added.
The $22.8 billion committed in 2021 includes loans and guarantees, grants, equity investments, and technical assistance provided to governments and the private sector. In addition, ADB mobilized $12.9 billion in cofinancing.
Of ADB’s 2021 commitments, $13.5 billion, or 59%, was for pandemic response, although many of these commitments, such as strengthening the health sector, will also help the region long after the pandemic is over.
The bank’s pandemic response support included $4.9 billion in rapid disbursing financing for governments to support structural reforms and address debt sustainability. The financing included $4.6 billion in policy-based lending and $250 million through the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option.
As part of the pandemic response, ADB committed $4.1 billion to enable the procurement and delivery of safe and effective vaccines for its DMCs. The bank also provided $3.3 billion to the private sector to keep businesses open, trade flowing, and make medical products and services available. A broad range of knowledge support guided COVID-19 response and recovery plans.
Addressing longer-term development challenges, such as climate change, remained an important focus of ADB’s 2021 operations.
"The battle against climate change will be won or lost in Asia and the Pacific. To succeed, our region needs to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future," said Asakawa.
To help meet its new elevated ambition of $100 billion in cumulative climate financing by 2030, the bank announced a series of financing initiatives to bolster the region’s low-carbon development. For example, ADB launched the Energy Transition Mechanism that will leverage private and public investments to finance the early retirement of coal-power assets, scale up clean and renewable energy solutions, and ensure the transition is just and affordable.
All of ADB’s 2021 commitments include elements that will specifically benefit women and girls. The bank also ramped up efforts to assist governments to mobilize domestic financial resources essential for sustainable growth, including through the launch of the Asia Pacific Tax Hub, a vehicle to support tax and related reforms region-wide.
ADB’s 2021 commitments were funded by its second-largest borrowing program to date, which raised $35.8 billion through the capital markets. ADB sold a record volume of thematic bonds last year and issued education bonds and blue bonds for ocean health for the first time.
The Annual Report also details a series of internal reforms underway to ensure ADB has the right skills, culture, structure, and tools to fulfill its mission.
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