Sunday 31 May, 2020

World Bank offers US$160 billion for COVID-19 support

The World Bank Group says it will deploy up to US$160 billion, over the next 15 months, to support countries at risk of a recession due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The funds are targeted at countries, where there is a need to protect the poor and vulnerable; support businesses and bolster economic recovery, according to the World Bank.

The World Bank said the first financing phase will also help bring more medical staff on board and ensure that they are well trained and equipped to deliver emergency care.

The financing will also equip and rehabilitate key primary care facilities so that they can operate at the standards needed to combat the pandemic. The World Bank Group already has health response operations moving forward in over 65 countries.

An initial batch of World Bank projects totalling $1.9 billion is to quickly get underway in 25 countries. 

A further $1.7 billion is being deployed to urgent pandemic response and recovery projects.

The emergency financing also includes $8 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to help the private sector cope with the pandemic.

This includes restructuring and use of projects’ emergency components as well as contingent financing instruments designed for catastrophe, it was noted.

Business support funds are intended to mitigate the recessionary impact of the spreading coronavirus.

The World Bank outlined that experience from previous shocks shows that keeping companies solvent is key to saving jobs and limiting the economic damage.

 In addition to new investments, IFC is extending trade finance and working capital lines to clients.

“The group’s efforts will also continue to focus on smaller businesses so that they can resume their key contribution to growth and jobs in many client countries,” the World Bank said.

The World Bank also said it is working to address disruptions in global supply chains. From the $160 billion targeted for support, one component will be $6 billion for expedited loan guarantees from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

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