ADB and its partners were agile, bold, and innovative in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolded across the Asia and Pacific region.Read the Report
As the pandemic abates, we will need to focus our support on ensuring a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery. This will involve supporting countries in achieving low-carbon development trajectories and addressing the pandemic’s job losses and increased inequalities, including the disproportionately negative impact the crisis has had on women and girls.
- ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa
Pursuing partnerships to combat the pandemic
In one of the many paradoxes experienced throughout 2020, the pandemic that forced us to distance ourselves physically and socially from each other also made it imperative for us to work together. As the number of COVID-19 cases exponentially grew and healthcare systems worldwide became overwhelmed, partnerships formed across the globe to combat the pandemic, develop vaccines, and mitigate the worst of the economic impact felt by communities.
The importance of partnership has been keenly felt by ADB. Indeed, it has been at the core of its approach to the pandemic.
ADB's response to the pandemic was unprecedented in both speed and volume. On 18 March 2020, barely a week after the World Health Organization confirmed COVID-19 as a pandemic, ADB announced a $6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing members as they battled the emerging pandemic. This response was increased to $20 billion in April 2020 once the scale of the pandemic was better understood. Throughout 2020, ADB demonstrated flexibility through its business practices as it recalibrated the response to the increasing challenges facing the region. As vaccine development progressed, ADB launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative—the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, or APVAX— in December 2020 to support effective, safe, and equitable access to vaccines, recognizing that this was central to sustained recovery for societies and economies.
ADB drew on its convening power to galvanize action and coalesce partner resources around the flexible financing products and platforms ADB had developed. Responding to the escalating needs of the region, ADB's partners committed a record $16.4 billion in cofinancing for sovereign and nonsovereign operations in 2020—$11.1 billion for sovereign and $5.3 nonsovereign operations, with two-thirds targeted at COVID-19 interventions.
Some partners redirected previously committed funds to COVID-19 specific operations, while others contributed significant new sums to trust funds and special funding vehicles. Furthermore, new partners also came on board to complement our COVID-19 interventions.
As 2021 unfolds, ADB is shifting its focus on supporting developing members to achieve a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery. This will involve supporting countries to plan and realize low-carbon development policies; ramping up efforts to build climate and natural disaster resiliency, especially in vulnerable Pacific countries; and addressing income inequality, including the disproportionately negative impact of the crisis on women and girls. But as partnerships support countries and communities combat the initial pandemic, they will be even more vital as developing members plot a pathway to recovery. Thus, ADB—in close collaboration with governments, communities, the private sector, and civil society, among many others—will work to ensure a green, inclusive, and resilient recovery.
These numbers give a glimpse of how partnerships were so vital to ADB operations in 2020.
2020 total cofinancing, the highest volume to date
$11.1 billion sovereign cofinancing
$5.3 billion nonsovereign cofinancing
180 out of 408 sovereign projects
21 out of 38 nonsovereign projects
with new cofinanced sovereign projects in 2020
with new and ongoing sovereign projects in 2020
with new commitments to sovereign projects in 2020
supporting new sovereign commitments in 2020
(74% of $11.1 billion) of sovereign cofinancing
(50% of $5.3 billion) of nonsovereign cofinancing
The COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have devastating effects worldwide: travel bans, border closures, overwhelmed healthcare systems, economies in free fall, and, most importantly, the human cost of lives lost and families broken apart. Yet, no country or institution could hope to address this unprecedented challenge alone. Thus, 2020 became the year of unparalleled collaboration and solidarity across the international community.
Of the $16.4 billion of cofinancing committed in 2020, 66% or $10.8 billion were targeted at COVID-19 responses. Commitments for 2020 sovereign operations came from 13 governments and 15 multilateral institutions. Numerous private sector entities likewise supported 2020 nonsovereign operations.Read our story
The private sector plays a central role in the delivery of healthcare systems in many countries. As such, its role in the pandemic response has been critical. From primary healthcare to vaccine development, the private sector has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
In 2020, ADB’s private sector cofinancing commitments reached $5.3 billion. Short-term operations dominated as ADB focused on supplying shorter-term liquidity and working capital to private entities responding to the pandemic with much-needed goods and services. Around $2.3 billion out of $3.1 billion short-term cofinancing were COVID-19–related transactions.Read our story
52 financing partners supported new and ongoing sovereign operations in 2020
ADB benefits from a broad range of partnerships with international development agencies, nongovernment or civil society organizations, nontraditional donors, multilateral and bilateral institutions, the private sector, and other emerging development partners. The numbers above indicate how many partners had new and ongoing sovereign projects in 2020.Read more about each partner
ADB’s Strategy 2030 focuses on eradicating extreme poverty while working toward a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for the Asia and Pacific region. Financing partnerships are vital to this effort, especially in addressing the impact of the pandemic.
Climate Change, Disaster Resilience, and Environmental SustainabilityThe path to recovery needs to be green, inclusive, and resilient
ADB mobilized $729 million in 2020 from external partners to boost climate finance, supporting its own $4.3 billion investment in climate-related projects.
Accelerating Progress in Gender EqualityEquality is imperative
The pandemic exacerbated inequalities in developing Asia, especially for women and girls who have suffered disproportionately. ADB and its financing partners protected gender equality gains while facing the challenges brought by the global health crisis for marginalized and excluded groups.
Strengthening Governance and Institutional CapacityBetter services, better governance
Cofinancing investment in public sector management increased as ADB and its partners bolstered regional governments' efforts to strengthen service delivery, build capacity, and address the urgent needs of their citizens as the pandemic tore through communities.
Building back better one project at a time
Solar Power for a Greener Energy Sector
Maldives is poised to become a model for green energy systems through a project now transforming their diesel-fueled electric grids into a hybrid, renewable energy power system.
Reducing Poverty by Empowering the Farmers
Extremely poor farmers in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Basin are getting organized to rehabilitate road and agricultural facilities and gain better access to training, finance, and marketing schemes.
Smart Aircon Against COVID-19
ADB is piloting a clean and smart centralized air-conditioning system that can reduce energy consumption and contain indoor virus transmission, including COVID-19.
Strong Secondary School Systems for Sustainable Growth
The Government of Nepal is working to improve access to, and quality of, secondary education, beginning with competitive curricula, scholarships for poor students, and pilot-testing model secondary schools.