World Bank Group offers $12bn immediate support for COVID-19 country response | Daily News


World Bank Group offers $12bn immediate support for COVID-19 country response

As COVID-19 reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with health and economic impacts of the global outbreak. This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group would help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies. The financial package with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, would be globally coordinated to support country-based responses.

The COVID-19 support package would make available initial crisis resources of up to $12 billion in financing - $8 billion of which is new - on a fast track basis. This comprises up to $2.7 billion new financing from IBRD; $1.3 billion from IDA, complemented by re-prioritization of $2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio and $6 billion from IFC, including $2 billion from existing trade facilities. It would also include policy advice and technical assistance drawing on global expertise and country-level knowledge.

“We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “This includes emergency financing, policy advice and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group’s existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis.”

The financial package would provide grants and low-interest loans from IDA for low income countries and loans from IBRD for middle income countries, using all of the Bank’s operational instruments with processing accelerated on a fast track basis. International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, would provide its clients with the necessary support to continue operating and to sustain jobs.

The World Bank support would cover a range of interventions to strengthen health services and primary health care, bolster disease monitoring and reporting, train front line health workers, encourage community engagement to maintain public trust and improve access to treatment for the poorest patients. The Bank would also provide policy and technical advice to ensure countries could access global expertise.

IFC would work with commercial bank clients to expand trade finance and working capital lines. IFC would also directly support its corporate clients - with a focus on strategic sectors including medical equipment and pharmaceuticals - to sustain supply chains and limit downside risks. These solutions would leverage the lessons learnt from similar events in the past, with a goal to minimize the negative economic and social impacts of COVID-19 globally.

Countries face different levels of risk and vulnerability to COVID-19 and would require different levels of support. The Bank Group support would prioritize the poorest countries and those at high risk with low capacity. As the spread of COVID-19 and its impact continues to evolve, the World Bank Group would adapt its approach and resources as needed.

The World Bank Group is actively engaged with international institutions and country authorities to help coordinate global response.

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