ADB approves $16 million grant to help Marshall Islands

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $16 million grant to help the Government of the Marshall Islands manage the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“ADB’s assistance will allow the government to act quickly and manage the harsh impacts of the pandemic,” stated ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “Building resilience to COVID-19 and other health emergencies will be critical during the recovery period when the Marshall Islands reopens its borders,” she added.

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The $16 million Marshall Islands Health Expenditure and Livelihoods Support Program will assist finance the government’s coronavirus preparedness and response plan, which will strengthen the health sector by supplying essential medical equipment and provide infection prevention training for frontline medical workers. It will also mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic by providing financial assistance to tourism-related businesses, especially hotels, restaurants, and handicraft makers.

ADB’s grant will support vulnerable communities and households. School lunches will be extended to five days a week to promote sound nutrition among children. To safeguard the country’s 22 neighboring islands and atolls outside of the population centers in Majuro and Ebeye, every household will receive monthly food baskets for at least six months. Fishing and farming equipment will be delivered to communities to boost self-reliance.

The grant is funded through the COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility, which was established in April as part of ADB’s $20 billion expanded assistance for developing members to respond to COVID-19.

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