Coronavirus funding
Close-up of the Coronavirus. Image credit: US Department of State

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group has made 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.

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.

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Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group 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.

The financial package, with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, will be globally coordinated to support country-based responses.

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 reprioritisation of $2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio; and $6 billion from International Finance Corporation (IFC), including $2 billion from existing trade facilities.

It will 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.

The spread of Coronavirus globally as at 09 March 2020.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

“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,” he added.

World Bank financial package breakdown

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.  

IFC, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, will provide its clients with the necessary support to continue operating and to sustain jobs. 

Countries face different levels of risk and vulnerability to COVID-19, and will require different levels of support.

The Bank Group support will prioritise 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 will adapt its approach and resources as needed.

Originally published on esi-africa.com

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