World Bank response increases to $14 billion

The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (I.F.C.) increased their coronavirus response to $14 billion last week to help sustain economies and jobs amid massive global downturn. 

On March 3, the World Bank released an immediate $12 billion in support for member countries to take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The additional $2 billion plus $6 billion in financing by the World Bank is dedicated to strengthening health systems and disease surveillance. 

Another $6 billion from the I.F.C. to help sustain micro, small and medium sized enterprises, which are more vulnerable to economic shocks.

The package aims to fast-track financing to assist companies and countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

"The package will strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, including for disease containment, diagnosis, and treatment, and support the private sector," the World Bank statement read.

" I.F.C., a member of the World Bank Group, will increase its COVID-19 related financing availability to $8 billion as part of the $14 billion package, up from an earlier $6 billion, to support private companies and their employees hurt by the economic downturn caused by the spread of COVID-19."

Client financial institutions are to receive the bulk of the I.F.C. financing, to make sure they are able to continue offering trade financing, working-capital support and medium-term financing to private companies struggling with disruptions in supply chains.

This response will also assist existing clients in economic sectors directly affected by the pandemic, such as tourism and manufacturing, ensuring they continue paying their bills.

It will also benefit sectors directly involved in responding to the pandemic, including healthcare and related industries, which face increased demand for services.

David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group said the package provides urgent support to businesses and their workers to reduce financial and economic distress.

"It’s essential that we shorten the time to recovery. This package provides urgent support to businesses and their workers to reduce the financial and economic impact of the spread of COVID-19," he said.

"The World Bank Group is committed to a fast, flexible response based on the needs of developing countries. Support operations are already underway, and the expanded funding tools approved today will help sustain economies, companies and jobs.”

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