ADB overtakes Japan as top ODA source

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A picture shows the logo of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) displayed outside its headquarters in Manila on September 2, 2010. Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP

MANILA  -For the first time in seven years, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has surpassed Japan as the Philippines’ top source of official development assistance (ODA), which posted a marginal growth in 2022 following a “significant reduction” in pandemic-related aid as the economy recovered.

ODA from the Manila-based multilateral lender amounted to $10.85 billion in 2022, accounting for 33 percent of the total pile, data from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) released on Tuesday showed.

ODAs are a cheap source of financing as they charged interest that are lower than prevailing market rates. They also have longer grace and repayment periods. Previous to the latest data, Japan was the country’s top contributor of concessional loans for seven straight years. Data showed ODAs from Japan hit $9.96 billion last year, cornering 30.75 percent of the total.

World Bank third

Meanwhile, the World Bank emerged as the country’s third biggest source of ODAs with a 21.8 percent share. These cheap loans, amounting to $6.86 billion, were spent on 29 projects and programs, the Neda reported.

Next to World Bank are loan interest loans from China and Korea, where the country sourced 3.02 percent and 2.81 percent of its ODA, respectively.

Zooming out, figures from Neda showed the Philippines’ active portfolio of ODA loans and grants amounted to $32.4 billion, up by only 0.50 percent year-on-year.

This comprised of 106 loans amounting to $30.2 billion and 320 grants totaling $2.2 billion. Nearly half of the ODA portfolio last year went to infrastructure projects to support the government’s growth ambitions.

Explaining what he called a “marginal” increase, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said there was a “significant reduction” in COVID-related loans as the country emerged from the pandemic.

This “reflects the country’s transition toward the new normal and is now focusing on achieving growth in the postpandemic world,” Balisacan added. INQ



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