The World Bank says it has received approval for emergency support operations for developing countries.
In a statement on Thursday, the Bretton Wood institution said the approval given by its board of executive directors is for the first group of projects to help 25 countries respond to “immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery”.
The first group of projects is said to total $1.9 billion with the World Bank saying it is ready to deploy $160 billion over the next 15 months.
“The broader economic program will aim to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and vulnerable,” the statement read.
“There will be a strong poverty focus in these operations, with an emphasis on policy-based financing, and protecting the poorest households and the environment.”
Some of the countries listed to benefit from the first group of projects are Afghanistan, Argentina, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic.
Others are Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, The Gambia and Yemen.
Commenting on the project, David Malpass, World Bank president, said: “The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and we already have health response operations moving forward in over 65 countries.”
“We are working to strengthen developing nations’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery. The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis.”
The World Bank also said it is helping countries access critical medical supplies by reaching out to suppliers on behalf of governments.