From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The World Bank has said that in 2020 about 1.6 billion were pushed out of school due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also in 2020, about 100 million more people were pushed into extreme poverty, the Bank said.
In its 2021 Annual Report, the Bank explained that between 720 million and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020—as many as 161 million more people than in 2019.
‘School closures put up to 1.6 billion students out of school, bringing significant losses in learning. Disruptions in health services have meant that many non-communicable and preventable diseases are going untreated,’ it said.
‘Women and girls are especially hard hit by these wide-ranging impacts, as they have been more likely to lose jobs or remain out of school; they have also faced a rise in gender-based violence.
‘The World Bank Group has mounted a broad and decisive response to the pandemic—the largest in our history. From April 2020 through the end of fiscal 2021, Bank Group financing totalled over $157 billion. The scale of this response reflects the Bank Group’s strong financial position, underpinned by the 2018 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) General Capital Increases and the IDA19 Replenishment.
‘It includes $45.6 billion in financing from IBRD for middle-income countries, $53.3 billion of International Development Association (IDA) resources on grant and highly concessional terms for the poorest countries, with built-in debt relief for countries at risk of debt distress; $42.7 billion from IFC to private companies and financial institutions; $7.6 billion in guarantees from MIGA to support private sector investors and lenders; and $7.9 billion from recipient-executed trust funds.
‘Our response began in April 2020, with our Health Strategic Preparedness and Response Programme. This uses a global multiphase programmatic approach (MPA) to help countries access financing to address health needs. From April 2020 through June 2021, we committed $8.4 billion for 153 operations under the MPA and reprioritised $3.1 billion from the portfolio to support over 100 countries in their response to the pandemic.
‘In June 2020, we launched the World Bank Group COVID-19 Crisis Response Approach Paper: Saving Lives, Scaling-up Impact, and Getting Back on Track, which outlines a framework for our response that is exceptional in speed, scale, and selectivity. It prioritises helping countries transition from crisis to recovery by: saving lives; protecting the poor and vulnerable; securing the foundations of the economy; and strengthening policies and institutions for resilience, based on transparent and sustainable debt and investments,’ the Bank said.