World Bank’s Emergency Aid to Developing Countries In Response to Covid-19 Outbreak

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread further, the World Bank has pledged $12 billion worth of emergency aid to prevent further spread in developing countries. The emergency aid includes grants, low-cost loans, and technical assistance. To benefit from this, the governments of affected countries are to make a pledge to insulate their countries against further economic impact of the epidemic. 

Just like the US, many countries that have been affected are most likely going to slide into recession territory due to the slow down on the global economy. Therefore, through the World Bank emergency aid, the governments of concerned countries must put in necessary efforts to ensure that their economies are not badly hit. David Malpass, president of World Bank Group in an interview said: “What we’re trying to do is limit the transmission of the disease.” Concerning this issue, Malpass also said that “We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of Covid-19.” Further adding, “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.” Therefore, the aid serves two purposes;

  • To help countries improve their public health systems in relation to the coronavirus epidemic
  • To help countries reduce the economic impact of the outbreak

The targets of this emergency aid are the poorest countries that are more vulnerable to the outbreak, countries with poor health care systems, countries limited finances and resources, and countries that share a close business link with China. The countries that have the most direct link with China are said to be the most vulnerable. According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) index, the countries that are more vulnerable are Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

Through this aid, the World Bank Group intends to reach over 60 countries, and it is designed to help member countries effectively respond to the outbreak threats and lessen intense impacts that may likely be caused by the Covid-19. The financial package, in the long run, would help countries strengthen disease surveillance against future cases, create better health systems, boost public health interventions, and work with the private sector to share the economic burden. Since countries face different levels of the Covid-19 risk and vulnerability, different levels of support will be allocated according to the threat levels in the different countries.  

Through its private sector arm, International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group will make available to concerned countries necessary support to continue operating and sustain jobs both in the government and private sectors. The IFC will also work with commercial bank clients to extend working capital lines and trade finance. 

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