Beijing-based development bank Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) is planning to set up a healthcare unit. The bank’s plan to enter the healthcare space was boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exposed the weakness of the healthcare sector in the region.
Erik Berglof the bank’s chief economist told Financial Times, “Definitely, Covid-19 has shown the importance of the primary healthcare system in offering resilience to pandemics. We saw that in many countries in Asia, the basic healthcare system didn’t hold up very well. That’s clearly something that needs to be addressed.”
Since its inception, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has focused on developmental work in sectors such as energy, transport and water. It is reported the new department set up by Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will focus on education infrastructure in the region, in addition to healthcare.
The Covid-19 pandemic also took a toll on the infrastructure operations in the region, posing a challenge for the bank, according to its president Jin Liqun. Liqun said what worries the bank is the deterioration of the economic situation of some of its members.
AIIB, which is backed by China, has set aside around $13 billion to aid members’ recovery from Covid-19. It is reported that around $6 billion of the fund has already been invested.
The bank is involved in various projects in the Asiatic region. In Russia, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is helping Russian Railways (RZD) with a loan of around $300 million to sustain its operations, media reports said.h