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AfDB operations reach $22.8 billion to boost pandemic response and green recovery

The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) has committed US$22.8 billion from its own resources in 2021 to help Asia and the Pacific address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and promote a green recovery .

The Manila-based lender said in a statement received here on Tuesday that its “2021 Annual Report” summarizes how the AfDB has supported its developing country members (DCs) through a combination of financing, knowledge and partnerships.

“The AfDB firmly believes that addressing the impacts of the pandemic and supporting long-term development are not mutually exclusive,” said AfDB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

“Our sustained response to COVID-19 has laid the foundation for an inclusive, resilient and green recovery, ensuring progress towards our Strategy 2030 goals.” The US$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, the AfDB said it mobilized US$12.9 billion in co-financing.

Of AfDB commitments in 2021, US$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. Addressing longer-term development challenges, such as climate change, remained an important focus of AfDB operations in 2021.

“The battle against climate change will be won or lost in Asia and the Pacific. To succeed, our region must accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future,” Asakawa said.

To help achieve its lofty new ambition of US$100 billion in cumulative climate finance by 2030, the bank has announced a series of financing initiatives to support low-carbon development in the region. For example, the AfDB has launched the Energy Transition Facility which will leverage private and public investment to fund the early retirement of coal assets, scale up clean and renewable energy solutions, and ensure the transition is fair and affordable. All AfDB commitments for 2021 include elements that will specifically benefit women and girls.

The bank has also stepped up its efforts to help governments mobilize domestic financial resources essential for sustainable growth, including through the launch of the Asia Pacific Tax Hub, a vehicle to support region-wide tax and related reforms.

The AfDB’s commitments for 2021 were funded by its second largest borrowing program to date, which raised US$35.8 billion in capital markets. The AfDB sold a record volume of thematic bonds last year and issued Education Bonds and Ocean Health Blue Bonds for the first time.

The report also details a series of internal reforms underway to ensure the AfDB has the skills, culture, structure and tools to fulfill its mission.