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African Development Bank issues a record $3 billion social bond to combat COVID-19

The three-year Fight Covid-19 bond is the largest-ever U.S. dollar-denominated social bond, and attracted $4.6 billion in interest. The COVID-19 virus has been late to reach Africa, but experts have warned African nations, many with already strained healthcare systems and infrastructure, to prepare for the worst.

“These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus,” African Development Bank’s Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said in announcing the bond sale. He promised “rapid support” and said the bond was the first part of a soon-to-be-announced “comprehensive response.”

AfDB is the latest development bank to mobilize funds to combat the coronavirus. 

Reprogramming. Inter-American Development Bank and the IDB Group are “reprogramming” existing efforts and will make an additional $3.2 billion available to countries affected by COVID-19. IDB Invest, part of IDB Group, a development finance agency for Latin America and the Caribbean, is also readying a $500 million Crisis Mitigation Facility to fund direct health-related responses to the pandemic and short-term lending for small and medium-sized enterprises.  

Fast tracking. The International Finance Corp. recently sold a $1 billion dollar social bond targeted at COVID response. The bond was part of a larger $14 billion in fast-track financing by the World Bank and IFC targeted at “efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19.”

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