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COVID-19 Financing and Development Pathways: Initial Reflections from the Asian Development Bank

COVID-19 and the economic crisis it unleashed have spurred unprecedented action from governments and international institutions. Multilateral development banks (MDBs) like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) swiftly committed resources to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in 2020 and 2021, including a $20 billion countercyclical support facility and a $9 billion facility specifically for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and vaccination program implementation.

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More Than $1 Trillion in MDB Firepower Exists as We Approach a COVID-19 “Break the Glass” Moment

In retrospect, the scale up in MDB financing during the 2008-2010 crisis, though significant, now looks conservative as we consider the potential scale of damage from the current COVID-19 pandemic. To put the question bluntly, if the human and economic devastation follows a worst-case scenario, just how much could the MDBs do to respond? We attempt to answer that question by assessing the legal, rather than prudential, constraints on MDB lending.