Nigeria has been excluded from the list of 25 countries to benefit from the World Bank’s $1.9 billion first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, fast-track facility for COVID-19 (coronavirus) response.
The package was approved by the Board of Executive Directors of the global financial powerhouse.
According to the World Bank, the decision for the intervention was reached by the board on Thursday, adding that it was prepared to deploy about $160 billion in the next 15 months to help countries combat the COVID-19 pestilence and recover quickly from it.
The bank in a statement said: “The World Bank Group is prepared to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures that will help countries respond to immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery.
“The broader economic programme will aim to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and vulnerable. There will be a strong poverty focus in these operations, with an emphasis on policy-based financing, and protecting the poorest households and the environment.”
The bank’s president, David Malpass, was quoted as saying, “The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and we already have health response operations moving forward in over 65 countries.
“We are working to strengthen developing nations’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery. 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.”
According to the bank, “new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries using the fast-track process.”
It said that it was working to redeploy resources in existing World Bank-financed projects worth up to $1.7 billion, including through restructuring, use of emergency components of existing projects (CERCs) and triggering of CAT DDOs and spanning every region.
Responding to widespread supply chain disruptions, the bank said it was also helping countries access critically needed medical supplies by reaching out to suppliers on behalf of governments.
It said that it was equally encouraging other global bodies to provide financial support to developing countries for the COVID-19 health response.
“This fast response package will save lives and help detect, prevent and respond to COVID-19 in the countries we serve,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director of Operations. “Our country operations will be coordinated at a global level to ensure best practice is quickly shared, including approaches to strengthen national health systems and prepare for potential follow-on waves of this devastating virus.”
Only Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are to benefit from the initial $1. 9bn response.
$82 million will help Ethiopia address critical needs for COVID-19 preparedness and response, while the Democratic Republic of Congo gets $47 million that will provide immediate support to put in place containment strategies, train medical staff and provide equipment to ensure rapid case detection and contact tracing.