To help Bangladesh respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a USD100-million loan which will enable the Government of Bangladesh to ramp up its testing, tracing and treatment capacity and improve the longer-term pandemic preparedness of the country.
Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic as it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with a large percentage of the population living in informal settlements without adequate basic services and infrastructure. In addition to having a large number of migrant workers, over 80 percent of its workforce are employed in the informal sector which makes it difficult for communities to maintain social distancing measures to contain the spread of infectious diseases. The government has limited capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to public health emergencies and the increasing incidence of COVID-19 in the country has put greater pressure on the national public health system.
“The unfolding pandemic presents an unprecedented global challenge and has widespread and severe negative social, economic, and financial impacts. Through the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project in Bangladesh, AIIB can help ease the significant pressures and strains on the country’s healthcare infrastructure, systems, and supply chains and mitigate the risk of loss of life and suffering faced by the people,“ said AIIB Vice President, Investment Operations, D.J. Pandian.
The Project, which is cofinanced by the World Bank, builds on AIIB’s earlier support for the Government of Bangladesh’s emergency response program against COVID-19. Earlier in May 2020, AIIB, working together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), approved a USD250-million loan to help alleviate the effects of the pandemic on small and medium enterprises and the informal sector, strengthen social safety nets and support women in export-oriented industries.
All the components of AIIB’s support are consistent with the country’s priorities and are designed to help the Government of Bangladesh address the immediate health effects, and longer-term economic and social effects, of the COVID-19 pandemic, while serving the dual purpose of strengthening national systems to better respond to future disease outbreaks.
AIIB’s financings to Bangladesh are part of AIIB’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF), which provides up to USD13 billion of financing to both public and private-sector entities facing serious adverse impacts as a result of the pandemic. As of August 27, 2020, AIIB’s Board of Directors has approved a total of 21 projects under the CRF, amounting to over USD6.34 billion to help 15 members navigate the challenges of these highly uncertain times. Other projects being proposed under the CRF can be found here. Additional information about the Bangladesh COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project can be found here.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia. Headquartered in Beijing, we began operations in January 2016 and have now grown to 103 approved members worldwide. By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia and beyond, we will better connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.