By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa and Agence FranÃ§aise de DÃ©veloppement (AFD) Chief Executive Officer RÃ©my Rioux Tuesday held discussions on strengthening the partnership between ADB and AFD to respond to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Asakawa said, â€œADB and AFD have a long record of close collaboration through activities such as the cofinancing of project loans and a trust fund for project preparation. This strong partnership is an excellent foundation on which to build our collaboration on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.”
â€œADB and AFD are committed to taking collective action to respond to the coronavirus outbreak,â€ said Rioux adding, â€œIncluding by jointly enhancing their wealth of hands-on experience in building coordinated responses with a view to forge a more sustainable future for all.â€
The two leaders exchanged information on their response packages, which includes $20 billion announced by ADB on April 13, to offer budget support, tailored assistance for the private sector, and continued concessional and grant resources to fund immediate emergency needs in ADBâ€™s developing member countries.
The AFD launched a â‚¬1.2 billion response programme on April 9, called â€œHealth in Commonâ€ which offers rapid support to shore up fragile healthcare systems and prepare developing countries for a post-crisis world.
They looked forward to the Finance in Common Summit, the first global meeting of all public development finance institutions, to be hosted by AFD on November 12, on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum. Issues on the summit agenda will include approaches to reconciling short-term stimulus and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on nature and society in order to achieve a sustainable recovery. The public development finance institutions will play important roles in helping economies advance in the right direction.
The ADB and AFD seek to achieve a total of $5 billion in cofinancing in the three years to 2022, focusing among other things on the Pacific and climate change. The AFD Trust Fund at ADB, established in 2004, has to date committed about $7.4 million for project preparation.
Other aspects of ADB-AFD cooperation include an annual high-level consultation and a staff exchange programme.
The 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 membersâ€”49 from the region.