World Bank announces $12B for coronavirus response

World Bank announces $12B for coronavirus response

David Malpass, president at the World Bank. Photo by: World Bank / Simone D. McCourtie / CC BY-NC-ND

WASHINGTON — The World Bank on Tuesday announced a financing package worth up to $12 billion, aimed at supporting countries in their response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The funding will be used “to respond to country requests for crisis financing of their immediate needs and also to lessen the tragic impacts of the virus,” World Bank President David Malpass told reporters.
The announcement includes a combination of new and reprioritized funding.
“Countries face different levels of risk and vulnerability and will require different types of assistance and levels of financial support. So flexibility and responsiveness will be crucial.”
— David Malpass, president, World Bank
It will be made available from three branches of the World Bank Group — with $2.7 billion in new financing from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, $1.3 billion from the International Development Association, and another $2 billion drawn from the bank’s existing lending portfolio. The International Finance Corp., the bank’s private sector arm, will contribute $6 billion, which includes $2 billion from existing trade facilities.
“The goal is to provide fast, effective action that responds to country needs. It should recognize the extra burden on poorer countries and also the benefit on global public goods from a comprehensive response worldwide by reducing the spread of pathogens,” Malpass said.
“There are scenarios where much more resources may be required. We'll adapt our approach and resources as needed,” he added.

The bank hopes that the additional support will enable countries to detect when the virus crosses their borders, mobilize frontline resources to respond, and build preparedness for disease outbreaks, said Muhammad Pate, the bank’s global director for health, nutrition, and population.
With more than 60 countries now reporting cases of the virus, concerns about what a widespread outbreak would mean for countries with weaker health systems are growing.
He added that there has been a misperception that a payout would be triggered if the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, which is also not the case.

“It's possible, if it's triggered ... that money would flow in, let's say in the second quarter of this year and could be used and would be additional to the $12 billion dollars that I was announcing today,” Malpass said.

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