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IDB approves record US$21.6B in lending to regional countries

Published:Monday | December 28, 2020 | 12:15 AM

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said it provided a record US$21.6 billion this year to assist its 26 member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to manage the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support, it said, laid the groundwork for recovery and sustainable growth.

In response to unprecedented need in the region, which is the world’s hardest-hit by COVID-19, the Washington-based financial institution said it “rapidly reformulated tools and fast-tracked operations” that led to increases of 11 per cent in sovereign guaranteed approvals and 55 per cent in disbursements, compared to 2019.

In all, the IDB said it approved US$12.6 billion for public-sector projects in 2020. IDB Invest, the IDB Group’s private-sector arm, supplemented these efforts with US$9 billion, including US$6.7 billion in approvals and US$2.3 billion in mobilisation.

IDB Lab, the Group’s innovation incubator, increased its operations by 40 per cent, from 90 projects to 126, of which 20 were pandemic-related.

“We must use this crisis as an opportunity to capitalise on the creativity, resilience, and optimism that have always been our region’s hallmark,” said IDB president, Mauricio Claver-Carone, in a year-end address to the bank’s board of directors.

“We are proud that the IDB Group has contributed to many of these efforts in 2020, and we intend to be a leader in working with the region on its recovery in 2021.”

The IDB said its response to the pandemic totalled US$8.076 billion, focused on financing for immediate public-health needs, safety nets for vulnerable populations, economic productivity and employment, and fiscal measures to help mitigate economic impacts.