Foreign COVID-19 aid flows

Several countries have pledged loans and aid to support Myanmar’s pandemic-stricken economy as well as its short term healthcare needs. This week, the World Bank announced a new Country Partnership Framework that aims to help Myanmar recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 and maintain growth in the coming years. In a press release, the World Bank said the framework focuses on three areas: “building human capital and fostering peaceful communities, stimulating responsible private sector-led growth and inclusive economic opportunities, and enhancing the resilience of Myanmar to cope with natural disasters while ensuring that natural resources and the environment are managed sustainably.” The World Bank has also granted Myanmar a USD 50 million loan for its comprehensive COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan (CERP), as well as a USD 8 million grant to support its short term healthcare needs.

Last week, the Export-Import Bank of Korea announced that it would provide Myanmar a 40-year, 0.1 percent interest loan of USD 30 million to assist with CERP. This week, the UK announced USD 48 million in economic aid to help Myanmar fight the pandemic. USD 16 million of those funds have been designated for the medical supplies and services in remote and isolated communities. Such foreign aid will play a key role in CERP, which touches nearly every economic sector and could cost as much as USD 2 billion.

Meanwhile, although estimates from organizations including IMF and ADB predict that Myanmar’s economy will continue to grow, the expected rate of growth has plunged from over 6 percent to less than 2 percent.

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