Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak of COVID-19, even as it spreads to more than 60 countries. 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).
The World Bank Group, through this new fast track package, will 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.
In a statement, the bank said the financial package, with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, will be globally coordinated to support country-based responses.
It explained that “the COVID-19 support package will 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 reprioritization of $2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio; and $6 billion from IFC, including $2 billion from existing trade facilities”.
The bank stated that it will also include policy advice and technical assistance drawing on global expertise and country-level knowledge. The World Bank Group President, David Malpass said “We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19.
“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 bank further explained that the financial package will 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.