Bangladesh has received USD250 million in funding from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as the country grapples with the fallout from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The loan, co-financed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is part of a program to provide the Government of Bangladesh with budget support to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on the country’s poor and most vulnerable, particularly those affected by job losses in small and medium enterprises and the informal sector, as well as strengthen social safety nets. The program also has specific targets to support women in export-oriented industries.
Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus given that it has one of the highest population densities in the world. Nearly 15 percent of households continue to live in poverty, with a high share of households living in informal settlements, and more than 80 percent of the workforce employed in the informal sector, all of which make it difficult and expensive to maintain social distancing measures to contain the spread of the virus. According to ADB estimates, a serious outbreak would result in job losses ranging from 1.4 to 3.7 million.
While AIIB does not have a regular instrument for policy-based financing, the Bank is extending such financings on an exceptional basis under the COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility to support its members on projects cofinanced with the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.
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