The World Bank on Thursday approved a plan to roll out USD 160 billion in emergency aid over 15 months to help countries deal with the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The board of the Washington-based development lender announced the first set of fast-track crisis funding, with an initial $1.9 billion going to projects in 25 countries, and operations moving forward in another 40 nations, the bank said in a statement.
“We are working to strengthen developing nations’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery,” said World Bank President David Malpass.
“The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis.” The bank also is working to redeploy USD 1.7 billion of existing funding, including the use of “catastrophic drawdowns,” a type of emergency credit line.
India will be the largest beneficiary of the first wave of programs with a facility for USD 1 billion, followed by Pakistan with USD 200 million and Afghanistan with a little over USD 100 million, but funding is going to countries on nearly every continent, the bank said.
In addition, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, is providing $8 billion in financing “to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.”