World Bank to Help Developing Countries Strengthen Pandemic Response

A worker cleans a road during coronavirus lockdown in New Delhi which is among the worst-affected cities of India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service
A worker cleans a road during coronavirus lockdown in New Delhi which is among the worst-affected cities of India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service

The Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries.

The global economy is expected to expand 4% in 2021, assuming an initial Covid-19 vaccine rollout becomes widespread throughout the year. A recovery, however, will likely be subdued, unless policy makers move decisively to tame the pandemic and implement investment-enhancing reforms, the World Bank says in its January 2021 Global Economic Prospects.

Although the global economy is growing again after a 4.3% contraction in 2020, the pandemic has caused a heavy toll of deaths and illness, plunged millions into poverty, and may depress economic activity and incomes for a prolonged period.

Top near-term policy priorities are controlling the spread of Covid-19 and ensuring rapid and widespread vaccine deployment. To support economic recovery, authorities also need to facilitate a re-investment cycle aimed at sustainable growth that is less dependent on government debt.

David Malpass
David Malpass

“While the global economy appears to have entered a subdued recovery, policymakers face formidable challenges—in public health, debt management, budget policies, central banking and structural reforms—as they try to ensure that this still fragile global recovery gains traction and sets a foundation for robust growth,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “To overcome the impacts of the pandemic and counter the investment headwind, there needs to be a major push to improve business environments, increase labor and product market flexibility, and strengthen transparency and governance.” (pictured, photo: World Bank)

Meanwhile, the World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.

The Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

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