AIIB approves $250m in COVID-19 loans for Bangladesh

  • News Desk bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-05-21 14:45:59 BdST

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The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, has approved a $250 million loan to Bangladesh as the country grapples with the fallout from the novel coronavirus disease.

The loan, cofinanced with the Asian Development Bank, is part of a programme to provide the government of Bangladesh with budget support to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on the poor and most vulnerable.

The programme also has specific targets to support women in export-oriented industries, AIIB said in a statement on Thursday.

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 AIIB.

According to ADB estimates, a serious outbreak would result in job losses ranging from 1.4 million to 3.7 million.

“Our support to Bangladesh is part of AIIB’s broader proactive efforts to respond to the needs of our vulnerable members to weather the COVID-19 crisis,” said AIIB Vice President DJ Pandian.

Pandian noted that Bangladesh had in recent years performed exceedingly well with annual growth averaging 7.4 percent over the last five years. “It is incumbent on the international community to come together to ensure that the country does not fall behind but continues to make strides in its development efforts.”