Kathmandu, May 20
The World Bank Group (WBG) has announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 (coronavirus) have reached 100 developing countries — home to 70 per cent of the world’s population.
Since March, the group has rapidly delivered record levels of support in order to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, reinforce health systems, maintain the private sector, and bolster economic recovery. This assistance, the largest and fastest crisis response in the WBG’s history, marks a milestone in implementing the group’s pledge to make available $160 billion in grants and financial support over a 15-month period to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the economic shutdown in advanced countries, as per a media release.
“The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty — erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation,” WBG President David Malpass has been quoted as saying. “To return to growth, our goal must be rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, provide cash and other expandable support to protect the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery.”
Of the 100 countries, 39 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly one-third of the total projects are in fragile and conflict-affected situations, such as Afghanistan, Chad, Haiti, and Niger. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) have also fast-tracked support to businesses in developing countries, including trade finance and working capital to maintain private sectors, jobs and livelihoods.
The WBG’s support through grants, loans an
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