World Bank Approves $160 Bn COVID-19 Relief Program

Publish On: 27 Mar, 2020 09:59 AM | Updated   |   Shivalik  

The World Bank Group President David Malpass said hat the multilateral lender was finalizing a package that would provide 160 billion in support for the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The goals are to shorten the time to recovery; create conditions for growth; support small and medium enterprises; and help protect the poor and vulnerable," Malpass told a call of the Extraordinary Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders' Summit on Thursday.

Noting that the planet Bank has approved a $14 billion package focused on the immediate health and social consequences of the outbreak, Malpass said "we're now finalizing an additional package that will focus on the broader economic consequences", reports Xinhua press agency .

The World Bank President further said that on Wednesday, he presented a program to the Board that would provide funds amounting to $160 billion in support over the subsequent 15 months.

"I'm particularly concerned about poor, densely populated countries such as India, where weak health systems need massively scalable investments in human capital, supplies and infrastructure," Malpass said.

"We are working hard to provide support through our public and private sector tools," he said.

Malpass noted the World Bank has new COVID-related projects underway in 56 countries, encouraging other multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches. 

The World Bank is restructuring existing projects in 24 countries so as to direct funds to the health emergency.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, is functioning on new investments in 300 companies and increasing trade finance and dealing capital lines to clients, consistent with the statement.

Noting that international cooperation is critical in these times, the planet Bank president said "we've been working closely" with the International fund (IMF) and therefore the World Health Organization, among others, to work out needs assessments of client countries.

The World Bank and therefore the IMF on Wednesday jointly called on G20 countries to supply debt relief for the poorest countries so as to assist them tackle challenges posed by COVID-19, stressing that the outbreak is "likely to have severe economic and social consequences" for the poorest countries, which draw on the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA).

At the G20 Leaders' Summit, Malpass reiterated the importance of addressing debt vulnerabilities. 

"This crisis will hit hardest poor countries that have high levels of indebtedness," he said.

"A broad and equitable debt relief process is urgently needed, so IDA countries can concentrate their resources on fighting the pandemic and its economic and social consequences."