In its bid to ease the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, the World Bank said the volume of the funds it deployed to countries was the highest crisis response in history as it soared by more than 60 per cent over the last 15 months.
In all, the World Bank said it deployed $157billion to fight the pandemic’s health, economic and social impacts between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
The bank in a statement issued at the weekend, said the $157billion was in response to COVID-19, which severely damaged the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries.
In December last year, World Bank Group (WBG) discussed a new five-year country partnership framework (CPF) from 2021 to 2024 and approved a $1.5-billion package to help build a resilient recovery post-COVID-19 for Nigeria.
Since the start of the pandemic, the bank group supported countries to address the health emergency, strengthen health systems, protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, create jobs and jump start a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.
Following last year’s COVID-related economic deterioration, the global economy is expected to expand 5.6 per cent in 2021. Thus far, the recovery is uneven and many of the world’s poorest countries are being left behind.
While about 90 per cent of advanced economies are expected to regain their pre-pandemic per capita income levels by 2022, only about one-third of emerging market and developing economies are projected to do the same. In 2020, global extreme poverty rose for the first time in over 20 years, with nearly 100 million people pushed into extreme poverty.
The World Bank said its commitments and mobilisations in fiscal year 2021 alone, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, amounted to almost $110billion or $84 billion excluding mobilisation, short-term financing and recipient-executed trust funds.
Commenting, World Bank Group President David Malpass, said, “Since the start of the pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed or mobilised a record $157 billion in new financing, an unprecedented level of support for an unprecedented crisis.
“We will continue to provide critical assistance to developing countries through this ongoing pandemic to help achieve a more broad-based economic recovery.
“The Bank Group has proven to be a rapid, innovative, and effective platform to support developing countries as they respond to the pandemic and strengthen resilience for future shocks. But we must do more still. I remain deeply concerned about limited availability of vaccines for developing countries, which are critical to save lives and livelihoods.”
In the 15 months ending June 30, 2021, the Bank Group stretched its balance sheets, accelerated leveraging and disbursements, and front-loaded resources. Support to countries from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) totaled $45.6 billion – including drawing down IBRD’s $10 billion crisis buffer in addition to Board-approved sustainable annual lending limits.
Grants and zero or low-interest loans to the world’s poorest countries from the International Development Association (IDA) amounted to $53.3 billion. To meet increased financing needs, the World Bank fully used all remaining IDA18 resources in FY20 and frontloaded about half of all the three-year envelope of IDA19 resources in FY21. In February 2021, IDA donor and borrower country representatives agreed to advance IDA20 by 12 months to enable continued surge financing in the coming years.