The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) multitranche financing facility (MFF) has helped member countries in addressing critical development financing gaps and played a major role in scaling up ADB’s investments in several countries, says a report released by ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department (IED). MFF is a financing modality that supports a medium- to long-term investment program of a developing member country through a series of tranches provided over time up to the maximum amount and period approved by ADB’s Board.
The report, ADB’s Multitranche Financing Facility, 2005–2018: Performance and Results Delivered, assesses the relevance, efficiency, and results of the use of MFF by ADB over 2005 to 2018. During this period, ADB approved 105 MFFs totaling $52.3 billion to 16 countries, which was equivalent to nearly one-third of its total sovereign financing. Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Viet Nam accounted for nearly two-thirds of the approved MFF financing, with South Asia, and Central and West Asia receiving 80% of the approvals and the financing envelope.
ADB introduced the MFF modality in 2005 to be more responsive and efficient, and to deliver results on the ground. MFFs provide governments with a secured investment flow over the facility period (up to 10 years) to finance multiple projects in tranches to address large infrastructure needs of the country with amounts often exceeding $500 million. Long periods and large amounts are also meant to incentivize the borrower to implement a sector strategy more systematically and to improve its institutional capacity.
The evaluation found that MFFs have been well aligned with country and ADB strategic priorities where large funding is required, supporting sector programs and national strategies and medium-term plans, where present. The facility also supported ADB’s key development agenda on promoting inclusive and sustainable growth to achieve poverty reduction through addressing infrastructure gaps. According to the report, MFFs have been well received by several stakeholders. The 2019–2022 operations pipeline includes 22 new MFFs for $14.3 billion in 16 countries, including seven newcomers to the modality.
“The larger size and longer term of MFF compared to stand-alone projects mattered as they allowed governments to pursue investment on a scale not previously possible,” said ADB Director General of Independent Evaluation Department Mr. Marvin Taylor-Dormond. “MFF operations provided viable investments to ADB member countries. If their potential is fully capitalized, they will be a powerful instrument for ADB to serve its client countries and promote transformational development in the region.”
The report states that the MFF modality also performed better than stand-alone projects in raising cofinacing from other sources, and in shortening project processing time. “Cofinancing raised by MFF operations was 27.5% of the ADB approved amount, almost twice the average raised by stand-alone projects,” said ADB’s IED Director Mr. Walter Kolkma. “Processing time for projects under an MFF are also substantially shorter than the time taken by multiple stand-alone projects.”
The evaluation notes that the modality did not always achieve the desired transformational changes at the sector level. It was mainly because components on capacity and institutional development often received less attention in the effort to complete the generally large and complex program of civil works. Also, some MFFs were found not addressing cross-sectoral issues in a more comprehensive way.
The report also notes that some of the MFF’s initial comparative advantages had eroded as the business environment changed. Over the years, in response to evolving conditions in the region, ADB has substantially lowered the commitment fee rates of all its loans, increased its lending capacity significantly, and gradually offered a wider choice of financing instruments. In addition, rules and procedures guiding MFF have been tightened in recent years, making this instrument less flexible.
The evaluation recommends ADB to review the use of the MFF modality and update the policy as necessary to align with its Strategy 2030 to deliver integrated solutions and realize its transformational development potential. It also recommends that ADB introduce measures to ensure that operations under the MFF program are completed during its specified time limit; that learning from prior tranches is captured and applied in subsequent tranches; and that transaction costs of MFF operations are reduced.
Wide Variations in Post-COVID ‘Return to Normal’ Expectations
A new IPSOS/World Economic Forum survey found that almost 60% expect a return to pre-COVID normal within the next 12 months. including 6% who think this is already the case, 9% who think it will take no more than three months, 13% four to six months, and 32% seven to 12 months (the median time). About one in five think it will take more than three years (10%) or that it will never happen (8%).
Views on when to expect a return to normal vary widely across countries: Over 70% of adults in Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, and mainland China are confident their life will return to pre-COVID normal within a year. In contrast, 80% in Japan and more than half in France, Italy, South Korea, and Spain expect it will take longer.
At a global level, expectations about how long it will take before one’s life can return to its pre-COVID normal and how long it will take for the pandemic to be contained are nearly identical. These findings suggest that people across the world consider that being able to return to “normal” life is entirely dependent on containing the pandemic.
An average of 45% of adults globally say their mental and emotional health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago. However, one in four say their mental health has improved since the beginning of the year (23%), about as many that say it has worsened (27%).
How long before coronavirus pandemic is contained?
Similar to life returning to pre-COVID normal, 58% on average across all countries and markets surveyed expect the pandemic to be contained within the next year, including 13% who think this is already the case or will happen within 3 months, 13% between four and six months and 32% between seven and 12 months (the median time in most markets).
Majorities in India, China, and Saudi Arabia think the pandemic is already contained or will be within the next 6 months. In contrast, four in five in Japan and more than half in Australia, France, Poland, Spain, and Sweden expect it will take more than a year.
Change in emotional and mental health since beginning of the pandemic about a year ago
On average across the 30 countries and markets surveyed, 45% of adults say their emotional and mental health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago, three times the proportion of adults who say it has improved (16%)
In 11 countries, at least half report a decline in their emotional and mental health with Turkey (61%), Chile (56%), and Hungary (56%) showing the largest proportions.
African fisheries need reforms to boost resilience after Covid-19
The African fisheries sector could benefit substantially from proper infrastructure and support services, which are generally lacking. The sector currently grapples with fragile value chains and marketing, weak management institutions and serious issues relating to the governance of fisheries resources.
These were the findings of a study that the African Natural Resources Centre conducted from March to May 2020. The centre is a non-lending department of the African Development Bank. The study focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in four countries – Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Seychelles. The countries’ economies depend heavily on marine fisheries. The fisheries sector is also a very large source of economic activity elsewhere in Africa. It provides millions of jobs all over the continent.
The study dwells on appropriate and timely measures that the four countries have taken to avoid severe supply disruptions, save thousands of jobs and maintain governance transparency amid the ongoing global uncertainty and crisis.
Infrastructure shortcomings include landing facilities, storage and processing capacity, social and sanitary equipment, water and power, ice production, and roads to access markets.
Based on the findings, researchers made recommendations to strengthen the resilience of Africa’s fisheries sector in the context of a prolonged crisis, and looking ahead to a post-Covid-19 recovery.
The report strongly advocates for:
– Increased acknowledgment of the essential role of marine fisheries stakeholders and the right of artisanal fishermen to access financial and material resources.
– Strengthening the collection of gender-disaggregated statistical data in a sector that employs a vast number of women and youth.
– Establishing infrastructure and support services at landing and processing sites of fishery products, with priority access to water.
– Investing in human capital to ensure high-level skills in the different areas of fisheries management.
– Improving governance frameworks by encouraging the private sector and civil society to participate in formulating sectoral policies and resource management measures.
The study recommends urgent reforms to make marine fisheries more resilient and enable the sector to contribute sustainably to the wealth of the continent’s coastal countries.
Marine fisheries are a crucial contributor to food security and quality of life in Africa. Good nutrition is a key factor to quality of life, and the marine fisheries sector supports the nutrition of more than 300 million people, the majority of whom are children, youth and women. It also provides more than 10 million direct and indirect jobs.
Dominated by artisanal fishing and traditional value chains, the fisheries sector in Africa is mainly informal and is rarely considered in public policies or in assessing the wealth of countries.
Like other sectors, the African fisheries sector has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid has affected supply markets and regional trade. This has resulted in substantial economic losses for most households that depend on fisheries.
Top Trends Impacting Global Economy, Society and Technology
The new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the cloud and robotics, are changing the way we live, learn and do business at a rate unprecedented in human history. This seismic shift is playing out in a world characterized by unreliable political landscapes and increasing environmental instability.
Scenario planning in this environment can be very difficult for businesses, affecting their ability to plan for the future, and properly assess the risks and opportunities that may present themselves. The Technology Futures report, released in collaboration with Deloitte, provides leaders with data analysis tools to scenario plan and forecast future technology trends.
“The rapid pace of technological change, alongside the global crisis caused by COVID-19, means that leaders today need new tools to understand challenges and develop strategies in the face of an increasingly uncertain future. This report provides three new analytical tools for business leaders to think about the future in a dynamic environment,” said Ruth Hickin, Strategy and Impact Lead, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum.
“We are delighted to collaborate with the World Economic Forum to take a disciplined look into the future, particularly as we emerge from a world-altering event, like COVID-19,” said Mike Bechtel, Managing Director and Chief Futurist, US Consulting, Deloitte, and lead author of the report. “We hope that by providing a clearer picture of how today’s nascent technologies will impact our future, we can play a meaningful part in driving innovation, collaboration and economic growth that improves life for all people.”
The report breaks down future trends into four categories for business leaders and provides some examples of what is likely to remain constant in the years ahead.
- Information: With the volume of accessible data exploding and more of our personal lives lived online, the report projects the probable implications for remote learning, remote working and healthcare.
- Locality: Since the onset of COVID-19, even more of our interpersonal interaction is virtual and physical experiences have dwindled. The report projects more niche, readily available virtual experiences available to consumers.
- Economy: The report forecasts a growing likelihood that flexible and clean energy production will continue rising.
- Education: Personalized education will likely grow, along with the availability of digitized and virtualized content.
In addition to strategic modelling, the report gives leaders a baseline history of how the Fourth Industrial Revolution has progressed. It highlights just how fast technology is evolving and outlines one way risk management could evolve to better address and adapt to it.
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