MANILA, PHILIPPINES (22 April 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today announced the release of a $6 million grant from its Pacific Disaster Resilience Program (Phase 2) to help finance the Government of the Marshall Islands’ response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
A state of emergency was declared in the Marshall Islands on 7 February and the public health emergency and closure of its borders have put pressure on the country’s health and financial systems.
“The $6 million grant for the Marshall Islands will help support the country’s health sector,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “This financing will allow the Marshall Islands government to respond quickly to social and economic needs as they happen.”
In addition to this assistance, ADB on 7 April announced a $370,000 grant for the Marshall Islands from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund to help finance the country’s response to the pandemic.
The pandemic is expected to weigh on the economy of the Marshall Islands. The Asian Development Outlook 2020 report forecast the country’s economy to decelerate from 3.8% in 2019 to 2.5% in 2020 as travel and transport restrictions caused by the pandemic depress growth. The report says a cautious recovery is expected in 2021.
The latest grant for the Marshall Islands complements ADB’s $20 billion package—announced on 13 April—to support member economies as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB is engaged in discussions with all its developing member countries, including those in the Pacific, on how best to utilize this support.
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.