June 25, 2020 / 11:40 AM / a month ago

ADB approves $1.5 billion in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan COVID-19 loans

ALMATY (Reuters) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday approved a $1.0 billion assistance package to help Kazakhstan mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a similar $500 million loan to Uzbekistan, the bank said.

ADB said its aid would “support the comprehensive COVID-19 health policy response, social protection and employment protection measures, and economic stimulus plan introduced by the government to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic”.

The pandemic has caused Uzbekistan’s economic growth projections to drop to 1.5% this year from 6% forecast previously, while the economy of Kazakhstan, also suffering from a drop in the price of oil, its key export, is expected to shrink.

Both countries introduced hard lockdowns between March and May, which hurt businesses and led to a surge in unemployment.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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