World Bank Announces Up to US$12 Billion Supports for COVID-19 Country Response

As COVID-19 reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to US$12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak, according to a press release AKP received this afternoon.

This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

There is no any mention a respective beneficiary-nation for this fund supports, but through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies.

Cambodia is one of the 189 member countries of World Bank Group. No new COVID-19 case has been reported in the Kingdom so far, after a Chinese man was detected with the virus in January and was recovered a few weeks later. Anyway, some Cambodian economic activities have already been affected by the impacts of COVID-19, especially tourism and garment industries.

The COVID-19 support package will make available initial crisis resources of up to US$12 billion in financing � US$8 billion of which is new � on a fast track basis. This comprises up to US$2.7 billion new financing from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); US$1.3 billion from the International Development Association ( IDA), complemented by reprioritisation of US$$2 billion of the Bank's existing portfolio; and US$$6 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), including US$2 billion from existing trade facilities. It will also include policy advice and technical assistance drawing on global expertise and country-level knowledge.

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 Mr. 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 provide grants and low-interest loans from IDA for low income countries and loans from IBRD for middle income countries, using all of the Bank's operational instruments with processing accelerated on a fast track basis. IFC will provide its clients with the necessary support to continue operating and to sustain jobs.

The World Bank support will cover a range of interventions to strengthen health services and primary health care, bolster disease monitoring and reporting, train front line health workers, encourage community engagement to maintain public trust, and improve access to treatment for the poorest patients. The Bank will also provide policy and technical advice to ensure countries can access global expertise.

IFC will work with commercial bank clients to expand trade finance and working capital lines. IFC will also directly support its corporate clients � with a focus on strategic sectors including medical equipment and pharmaceuticals � to sustain supply chains and limit downside risks. These solutions will leverage the lessons learned from similar events in the past with a goal to minimise the negative economic and social impacts of COVID-19 globally.

Countries face different levels of risk and vulnerability to COVID-19, and will require different levels of support. The Bank Group 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.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press