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Japan provides US$85 million in ODA loans for sanitation development, US$2 million for COVID-19 response to Paraguay

Japan announced that it will provide ¥9.1 billion (US$85 million) in official development assistance (ODA) loans for water and sewage development, as well as ¥300 million (US$2 million) for the COVID-19 response in Paraguay.

In Paraguay, water supply coverage is about 78% and the sewage coverage rate is 11%. Therefore, this project will help renovate and establish energy-efficient water and sewage facilities in the Ciudad del Este metropolitan area, improving the living environment of the region.

Furthermore, the number of COVID-19 cases in Paraguay is increasing, and the health care system needs to be strengthened to appropriately respond to this situation.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

EIB and African Export-Import Bank to provide US$344 million in financing for sub-Saharan Africa’s COVID-19 response

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) are channeling €300 million (US$344 million) to sub-Saharan African countries to support recovery and resilience efforts in their COVID-19 responses.

The package includes a reallocation of €200 million (US$229 million) toward sectors most impacted by the pandemic, as well as an additional €100 million (US$115 million) of new funds. The funds will go toward working capital for businesses to keep jobs and maintain imports. At least a quarter of the funds will be dedicated to climate action, some will help enable cross-border trade of medical supplies and equipment, and some will target businesses owned or managed by women. 
Press release - EIB 

Watchdog group finds UK development assistance to African Development Bank represents good value for money

The UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI), the government’s independent development assistance watchdog, has released a new report reviewing the effectiveness of UK support for the African Development Bank (ADB). The report finds that the UK’s contribution of £181 million (US$239 million) per year over the last three years to ADB, provides good value for money and that there is a strong alignment between UK priorities and those of the Bank.

The review does, however, give a word of caution noting that the UK’s decision to unilaterally impose performance measures on the Bank in 2017 disregarded the multilateral governance structure and had the potential to alienate the UK from other shareholders. The report highlights that the African Development Bank has a comparative advantage in filling critical gaps in delivering large scale infrastructure and in delivering large-scale regional projects, that single donors alone would struggle to implement.

However, the review does note that the Bank lacks resources to properly implement its environmental and social safeguards and that there is room for improvement in its aims to ‘leave no one behind’ and to promote gender equality.

News article - ICAI

Australia's Prime Minister emphasizes need for widespread access to COVID-19 vaccine

At the Aspen Institute's Aspen Security Forum, Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stressed the importance of ensuring widespread access to any newly developed COVID-19 vaccine. He indicated that his discussions with other world leaders have led him to believe that there is widespread agreement that whoever discovers a vaccine fist, must share the vaccine with the world.

A statement from the Prime Minister's office following a Cabinet meeting on August 7, suggests that Australia is "well progressed" in advance purchase arrangements for vaccines or treatments, in facilitating access to vaccines through multilateral and international arrangements, and in procurement contracts necessary for the distribution and deployment of newly developed vaccines and treatments.

Interview transcript - CBS News

Press release - Prime Minister of Australia

Canada signs global trade and gender arrangement

Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, has signed a new Global Trade and Gender Arrangement with Chile and New Zealand (the other members of the Inclusive Trade Action Group), which aims to promote inclusive and equitable trade and investment.

The signatory countries have committed to work together to promote gender equality within their trade and investment agreements. The group also issued a joint pledge to foster a global economic recovery from COVID-19 that is inclusive of women, Indigenous peoples, and other minority groups.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes study on recent developments, future focus of reproductive health commodities policy

The Directorate Social Development (DSO) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a study report that charts recent trends and developments regarding reproductive health commodities (RHCs) and outlines the DSO's future priority interventions.

The key themes identified by the DSO are supply chain management issues in last-mile distribution, a decrease in donor funding which requires domestic resource mobilization, and the consensus that private sector involvement is necessary to meet the increasing demand for RHCs. The document also covers details pertaining to the focus countries of the Dutch development policy for RHCs (Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger).

Press release - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Annual report shows French development agency group mobilized US$16.1 billion in 2019

The French Development Agency (AFD) released the summary of its annual report synthesizing the 2019 activities led by the AFD group (which includes its private sector instrument, Proparco, and its technical expertise agency, Expertise France.

In total, the AFD group mobilized €14.1 billion (US$16.1 billion) in 2019, supporting 115 countries in their development efforts, a 70% increase since 2015 according to the report. Of this amount, €2.5 billion (US$3.0 billion) were allocated as grants. The annual report indicates 1,072 new projects were initiated this year.

The French development agency mobilized €477 million (US$547 million) for global health projects, €621 million (US$712 million) for agriculture and nutrition, US$1.4 billion (€1.2 billion) for water and sanitation, and €877 million (US$1.0 billion) for education and professional training.

In 2019, €740 million (US$849 million) was committed to projects with gender equality as a principal objective. 49% of AFD overall projects integrated gender as one of several goals.

The African continent received 50% of the total volume of AFD's financial support throughout the year, of which €1 billion (US$1.2 billion) was allocated to the Sahel region.

2019 Annual Report - AFD (in French)

South Korean development agency announces human rights strategy

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), South Korea’s main development agency, announced its strategy to improve human rights in partner countries through its development cooperation programs and projects for 2020-2023.

According to a KOICA press release, the overall goal of the strategy will be to realize a basic principle of South Korea’s international development cooperation framework which is to improve the human rights of women, children, adolescents, and people with disabilities as well as to realize gender equality in partner countries. The strategy identifies 15 priority policy tasks including:

  • Identifying and designing international development cooperation projects that reflect the partner country’s human rights situation;
  • Developing human rights-based project identification and design guideline;
  • Organizing regular meetings with stakeholders to implement human rights-based development cooperation;
  • Establishing a human rights violation management system for public-private partnership projects;
  • Conducting research on human rights in international development cooperation;
  • Conducting research on the data management of KOICA projects targeting vulnerable groups; and
  • Establishing human rights evaluation systems.

Press release – Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)

UK government appoints Sir Philip Barton as permanent under-secretary of new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

The UK government has announced the appointment of Sir Philip Barton as the most senior civil servant to help run the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO). Barton will take on the role of the new permanent under-secretary in the FDCO from September 1, 2020.

Barton was formerly the High Commissioner to New Delhi, and prior to that, he was the Director-General of Consular and Security at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and acting Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee in the Cabinet Office.

Barton will play a critical role in helping to ensure a smooth merger between the Department of International Development (DFID) into FCO. He replaces Sir Simon McDonald, the previous Permanent Secretary for the FCO, and Nick Dyer the Acting Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Development.

Commentators from both the foreign policy and development fields have, on the whole, reacted positively to the appointment, noting that Barton is a good choice for the post and has the experience and expertise to manage the complex task at hand.

News article - Devex

Press release - UK Government

As COVID-19 cases balloon, Australia continues support to Papua New Guinea

Australia has re-prioritized over US$13 million worth of official development assistance (ODA) to support Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) response to COVID-19. Coronavirus infections in PNG have increased sharply over the past two weeks, with cases concentrated in Port Moresby and now appearing in Lae (PNG’s largest and second-largest urban centers).

Australia has already provided ODA to PNG for the acquisition of protective equipment and COVID-19 testing kits, and to support initiatives aimed at strengthening the capacity of health facilities. Australia is also backing the PNG police force's efforts to assist with the COVID-19 response. Separately Australia has also provided a US$300 million non-ODA loan intended to buffer PNG's economy from the shocks caused by COVID-19.

Blog - ANU Devpolicy Blog

Press release - PNG Government

Thirty-five countries support Italian-led COVID-19 Food Coalition

Thirty-five countries, including Argentina, Egypt, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and the United States joined the COVID-19 Food Coalition, an initiative launched in June by the Italian government and lead by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

The alliance is a multi-stakeholder platform focusing on mobilizing political, financial, and technical assistance to support the medium- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems and agriculture.

Article - Onuitalia website (English)

Japan provides US$15 million for rural water supply in Gambia

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has granted US$15 million to finance the fourth phase of the Rural Drinking Water Supply Project of Gambia. The project was launched in 2019 in line with Gambia's 2018-2021 National Development Plan.

The construction of solar-powered drinking facilities is expected to take thirty months: five months for detailed design, four months for tendering and procurement procedures, and twenty-one months for procurement and implementation.

News article – Afrik 21

UK will provide US$20 million to Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for Tuberculosis and fragile health systems research

On a visit to Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the UK’s Global Health Minister, Wendy Morton, announced that the UK will provide £15 million (US$20 million) to the school to support new research into preventing the spread of infectious diseases. £8 million (US$10 million) will go towards research into tackling Tuberculosis in Sub-Saharan Africa, a further £8 (US$10 million) million will go into looking at how to strengthen health systems in the most fragile and conflict-affected countries.  

The UK government has provided £77 million (US$98 million) of development assistance to Liverpool-led research into different infectious diseases to date.

Press release - UK government

Canada stresses importance of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced Canada's commitment to ensuring poorer countries have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, while also prioritizing domestic needs.

Canada has already joined and contributed US$89 million to the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and is currently engaging in discussions on how to further global collaboration in responding to COVID-19.

News article - Politico

European Commission nears deal with pharmaceutical company to reserve 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for European member states

The European Commission wrapped up talks with the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-GSK on a potential contract to reserve future COVID-19 vaccine doses for EU member states’ populations.

Once signed, the agreement would allow EU member states to purchase 300 million doses of Sanofi-GSK’s vaccine candidate, provided it is proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19. In line with its recently released European Vaccines Strategy, the Commission is also in talks with other vaccine manufacturers to ensure Europeans have rapid access to potentially successful vaccine candidates.
Press release - European Commission

No ODA budget changes currently required to maintain Sweden's COVID-19 support in partner countries, says SIDA report

An interim report from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), released on July 31, 2020, shows that Sweden has invested SEK 1.3 billion (US$144 million) of official development assistance (ODA) to combat the effects of COVID-19 in low-income countries. At the time of publication, Sida reported that it did not require any additional funding or further redistribution of its budget for its COVID-19 responses.

"This is because our strategies provide such a great deal of flexibility," said Carin Jämtin, Director General of Sida. "They're on country level in most places. There are some regional strategies as well, but in a country where we operate, there could be, for example, three areas in which we should work, such as democracy and human rights, climate and the environment, and education. How we work in these areas are decisions that we can make ourselves, without asking the government to make a new government decision."

On May 15, 2020, Sida was instructed by the Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson, to report back to the Swedish government by October 15 on how COVID-19 has affected Sweden's international development cooperation as well as propose measures to address consequences of the pandemic in developing countries and the need for additional ODA.

Currently, Sida is implementing 44 different development strategies, out of which implementation of 16 has been negatively affected by the pandemic: an additional six as compared to March 2020. The areas affected have mainly been related to food security, health care, and democracy and human rights. In addition, Sida’s presence in the field has been affected by some expatriate staff being called back in the spring. The objective is to have all staff return to their posts by the end of August.

Currently, Sida’s priorities for 2021-2023 remain stable, with the acknowledgement that there is still considerable uncertainty about future developments. An in-depth analysis of the situation will be delivered to the government by mid-October of 2020

Press release – Omvärlden (in Swedish)

South Korea’s finance ministry to provide US$5 million for digital infrastructure and green growth projects

South Korea's Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) announced that it will provide US$5 million to support digital infrastructure and green growth projects in the context of COVID-19 in six partner countries. Supported partner countries include Vietnam, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Haiti, and Uganda.

The funding will come from the Korea World Bank Group Partnership Facility and the Korea-International Finance Corporation (IFC) Partnership Program. MOEF plans to continue to fund new digital new deal ODA projects that utilize information and communication technology as well as green technology projects.

News article – KBS World

USAID outlines strategy for COVID-19 response across African continent

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee heard from senior officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) about the agency's strategy and approach for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent.

One of the chief concerns is both the uptick in cases as well as the potential for a rapid acceleration in various African countries. There are also issues with negative effects from China's interventions and the worry that the pandemic could be used to delay elections and otherwise impact democracies. USAID's response is guided by 3 lenses -- health, humanitarian, and second- and third-order impacts. So far, the US has spent about US$470 million on the global COVID response, with 20% for global health, 66% for humanitarian, and 10% for the second- and third-order effects, which will not be sufficient to cover the need.

News article - Devex

German Education and Research Ministry gives grant support to three biotech companies developing promising COVID-19 vaccines

The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has provided funding grants to three biotech companies – Tübingen-based CureVac, BioNTech from Mainz, and IDT Biologika from Dessau – to support accelerating progress on their potential COVID-19 vaccines. In return, Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, noted, the federal government expects that “an appropriate amount of an approved vaccine will be made available for demand-oriented supply in Germany."

The funding is channeled through a €750 million (US$844 million) national vaccine program, announced in May by the BMBF. The program aims to scale up clinical testing and expand production capacities for vaccine development in Germany.

While Karliczek stated that all three supported firms are currently working on promising vaccine candidates, she emphasized that an eventual COVID-19 vaccine is not expected to be available before mid-2021.  

Press release – BMBF (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle

Japanese loan to support construction of Bangladeshi power plant

Bangladesh has signed a loan from Japan to construct a 718-megawatt combined-cycle gas-fired power plant in Meghnaghat near Dhaka through the Lead Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).

The funds include an Asian Development Bank loan of US$100 million and LEAP financing of US$100 million. The project is co-financed by the Japan Bank International Cooperation (JBIC), as well as four commercial banks, and is insured by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).

The project is expected to increase Bangladesh's power generation capacity by 4%, which will help reduce energy imports and decrease dependency on costly and unsustainable fuel sources, contributing to sustainable industrial and economic growth.

The LEAP Fund targets high-quality private infrastructure projects in the Asia-Oceania region, and JICA approved US$1.5 billion investment in private sector investment financing for the LEAP Fund. Such areas of investment include reducing greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, and the provision of medical devices.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency