The World Bank Group (WBG) has initiated plans to establish Covid-19 related projects, worth $160 billion, in about 100 poorest countries across the continent.
This was disclosed by the WBG President, David Malpass, when he addressed a gathering of G20 Finance Ministers in a virtual meeting on Thursday, April 16, 2020.
The project will span a period of 18 months, starting at the end of April, 2020.
The goal of the WBG, in this regard, is to help developing countries implement emergency health operations, protect the poorest households and save jobs and businesses.
All of this, according to the WBG, will shorten the time to broad based, sustainable economic recovery.
Impact of covid-19 on countries
The Coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of difficulties for many economies, particularly the poorest among the league of nations.
Several of these poor countries have been the hardest hit of this pandemic as they have inadequate facilities and resources to fight and mitigate the impact of the virus on its economies.
The recent Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s bi-annual analysis of the state of the region’s economies, reported that covid-19 outbreak has set off the first recession in the Sub-Saharan Africa region in 25 years, with growth forecast at-5.1% in 2020 from a modest 2.4% in 2019.
“Due to deteriorating fiscal positions and increased public debt, governments in the region do not have much room for wiggle in deploying fiscal policy to address the COVID-19 crisis,” the Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank Albert Zeufack is reported to have said.
The numerous challenges faced by many of these poor countries formed the basis for the WBG initiative to undertake Covid-19 related projects help address the issue.
WBG and IMF interventions
The IMF and the WBG have, since the outbreak of the pandemic, rolled out a number of interventions aimed at mitigating the impact of the disease on member states of the International Development Associations.
Earlier in March 26, 2020, the WBG and IMF asked creditor countries to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance.
This month alone, the IMF, has approved the disbursement of billions of dollars to several countries in the world under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) including Ghana which is set to receive $1 billion this week.
In his address at the said the virtual meeting with G20 Finance Minister, Mr Malpass commended G20 for heeding to the call to suspend repayment of official bilateral credit to poorest countries.