Asia’s leading multilateral development banks will boost their support to companies and governments stricken by the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to avert a financial crisis in the region, reported the Financial Times.
The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank plans to lend at least $5 billion to member countries to help them battle the pandemic. Jin Liqun, the AIIB’s president and chairman, told the Financial Times that he expected this amount to serve its members’ needs for 18 months when combined with existing lending programs.
“But if the demand is much bigger, it is possible for us to increase the amount, with the approval of our board,” Jin added. “The crisis has laid bare the vulnerability of so many countries. We need to focus on building up the public health infrastructure.”
The Asian Development Bank, which announced a $6.5 billion package in March, is also seeking to provide a further package. Of the AIIB’s 78 members, 20 have requested the bank’s assistance to fight the virus, with India expected to be among the hardest hit by the pandemic. It is expected that the AIIB board will extend $355 million to China in what would be the institution’s first loan in the healthcare sector.