ADB's Private Sector Operations Deliver Crucial Support for Region’s COVID-19 Response in 2020

News Release | 4 May 2021

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (4 May 2021) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed nearly $2.9 billion in 2020 for private sector operations to help companies, employees and poor communities across the region manage the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to ADB’s Private Sector Operations in 2020 – Report on Development Effectiveness.

ADB committed $442 million for 15 projects with responses to COVID-19. A further $2.4 billion of revolving program commitments provided through ADB’s trade, supply chain, and microfinance programs helped developing member countries manage the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. 

“Our private sector support has helped enterprises including many agribusiness and energy companies to maintain operations, preserved the livelihoods of thousands of workers and poor smallholder farmers, and promoted the flow of lifesaving medical supplies,” said ADB Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships Ashok Lavasa. “ADB has worked closely with its partners to deliver swift and effective support in the face of an immense challenge, and to lay a foundation for recovery and a more resilient region.”   

Alongside its COVID-19 response work, ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department focused on priorities of its operational plan, which was endorsed by ADB’s Board of Directors in January 2020.   

Landmark projects included the first blue loan to boost plastics recycling in Asia; an investment in a large electric vehicle charging network in Thailand; a major private sector renewable energy project in Uzbekistan; and assistance to women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Armenia. A venture capital financing platform—ADB Ventures—was launched; an innovative free online supply chain mapping tool was developed; and an ADB office was opened in Singapore to mobilize investments and bring new technologies and management skills to development projects. 

There were 38 new projects committed last year, totaling $1.4 billion. Nearly all of them contained elements promoting gender equality, and over half of them were in new sectors or frontier markets. Long-term cofinancing of $2 billion helped ADB achieve $2.1 in long-term cofinancing for every $1 of its own resources in 2020.

Project commitments are expected to benefit more than 46,300 MSMEs and assist almost 185,000 women, while agribusiness projects will support the livelihoods of nearly 50,000 farmers. Meanwhile, the active portfolio of projects has created over half a million jobs; benefited 27.3 million MSMEs, and reduced CO2  emissions by 36.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Over 825,000 households gained access to potable water and 10.8 million farmers now have more sustainable livelihoods. 

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.