MANILA, PHILIPPINES (4 December 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $16.9 million grant to help the Government of Vanuatu respond to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Vanuatu has been tested by a year of multiple shocks, with Cyclone Harold hitting the country at virtually the same time as COVID-19,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “ADB’s support will help strengthen Vanuatu’s health system while also helping businesses, students, the unemployed, and the agriculture sector weather the economic impact of this pandemic.”

The Vanuatu COVID-19 Fiscal Response Program will support the government’s Health Preparedness and Response Plan to strengthen the health sector by training frontline medical workers in contact tracing and increasing public awareness of COVID-19.

ADB’s program will also help Vanuatu recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. The grant will assist the government in implementing its Economic Stimulus Program, including employment stabilization payments for businesses affected by the pandemic. It will fund grants for women-owned micro, small, and medium-sized businesses to support their operating cash flows. Primary and secondary school students will receive tuition relief to ensure their education remains uninterrupted. The government will also support increased production of some agricultural products through price subsidies and transportation assistance from farms to markets.

The grant is funded through the COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility, which was established in April as part of ADB’s $20 billion expanded assistance for developing members to respond to COVID-19. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about its ongoing response.

This is ADB’s second grant to Vanuatu to respond to COVID-19, following a grant of $1.5 million in August from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, cofinanced by the Government of Japan. With support from UNICEF, ADB has also provided technical assistance to procure essential medical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment and test kits.

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.

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