The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is giving a $1.5 billion investment to support the Government of Thailand’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“ADB is committed to providing timely support to Thailand and helping reduce the pandemic’s social and economic impacts on the country,” stated ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “Our budget support will help fund the government’s relief packages, which aim to better prepare the country’s health care system for possible future waves of COVID-19; protect the vulnerable; support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in industries most affected by the outbreak such as tourism and manufacturing, and provide overall economic stimulus.”
Thailand has one of the more advanced health care arrangements in Southeast Asia, but the country remains extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic due to its deep integration with regional and global economies. Potential waves in COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the system, following in constraints in human resources and medical equipment.
ADB forecasts Thailand’s economy to contract by 6.5% in 2020, below from its December 2019 projection of 3.0% growth. Given the nation’s strong regional business, investment, and labor links, an economic crisis in Thailand could spill over into neighboring countries, including Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.
“ADB is a trusted development partner in Thailand for many years,” stated Thailand’s acting Minister of Finance Santi Promphat. “In working closely with ADB, we believe that ADB support to member economies, including Thailand, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic would alleviate social and economic impact in Thailand and the region.”
A loan agreement is required to be endorsed by representatives from ADB and the Ministry of Finance by the end of August in Bangkok.
ADB is preparing a new country partnership strategy with Thailand, which will support economic recovery with a pipeline of green and climate-resilient infrastructure projects. The strategy will also focus on rebuilding regional cooperation through the Greater Mekong Subregion working groups on tourism, trade, transport, and health.
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 members—49 from the region.
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