The World Bank chief warned on May 19 that the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown of advances economies could push 60 million people into “extreme poverty”. During a conference call, World Bank Group President David Malpass said that the unwanted development would erase much of the recent progress made in the field of poverty alleviation.
The World Bank Group (WBG) announced that its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 have reached 100 developing countries, home to 70 per cent of the world’s population. Announcing the large-scale reach, Malpass said that the World Bank Group has moved quickly and decisively to establish emergency response operations in 100 countries, with mechanisms that allow other donors to rapidly expand the programs.
“To return to growth, our goal must be rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, provide cash and other expandable support to protect the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery,” he added.
The WBG said that its assistance marks a milestone in implementing the pledge to make available $160 billion in grants and financial support over a 15-month period to provide help to developing countries. The Group added that 39 out of 100 countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa and nearly one-third of the total projects are in fragile and conflict-affected situations, such as Afghanistan, Chad, Haiti, and Niger.
Last month, the WBG had announced its plan to launch a new multi-donor trust fund, in the wake of a public health crisis, to help developing countries get better prepared for disease outbreaks. The new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Fund (HEPRF) will be in addition to the support of up to $160 billion of financing that it will provide for 15 months to support COVID-19 measures.
“The new HEPRF will be another tool in the World Bank’s COVID-19 response and longer-term health preparedness agenda to support low-income countries, as well as the most vulnerable communities, including refugees,” said Annette Dixon, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank, in a statement.