With more than 60 nations reporting cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to US$12 billion in immediate support to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the outbreak and hopefully get the global economy back on track.

The World Bank Group will use this package to help developing nations strengthen their health systems, develop stronger safeguards against the coronavirus, improve disease surveillance, and support the private sector to reduce the massive impact that the outbreak has had on economies.

Of the US$ 12 billion in crisis resources that will be made available in the support package, US$8 billion is new, on a fast track basis. This comprises up to US$2.7 billion new financing from IBRD; US$1.3 billion from IDA, complemented by reprioritisation of US$2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio; and US$6 billion from IFC, including US$2 billion from existing trade facilities.

“We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “This includes emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group’s existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis.”

The financial package will offer grants and low-interest loans to low income nations from the IDA; while loans from the IBRD will be reserved for middle income nations. International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, will also be providing its clients with support to ensure continue operations and retain jobs.

Countries face different levels of risk and vulnerability to COVID-19, and will require different levels of support. The Bank Group announced that its support will prioritise the poorest countries and those at high risk with low capacity. As the spread of COVID-19 and its impact continues to evolve, the World Bank Group will adapt its approach and resources as needed.

As of now, the World Bank is currently engaged with several international institutions and the governing authorities of countries to help coordinate a global response.

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