World Bank grants Ghana US$35m to fight Covid-19
A Bretton Woods institution, World Bank Group, has granted Ghana an amount of US$35 million to support her effort to save lives, protect livelihoods, build resilience, and boost recovery against the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The amount forms part of $160 billion in grants and financial support for over a 15-month period to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of Covid-19 and the economic shutdown in advanced countries.
The World Bank Group announced the emergency operation to fight Covid-19 (Coronavirus) yesterday, Tuesday May 19, 2020, as part of efforts to reach 100 developing countries, which are home to 70% of the world’s population.
The US$35 million supplements the earlier Rapid Credit Facility of US$1 billion that Ghana secured from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle the global pandemic which the country recorded its first case on March 12.
The Bank Group, in order not to relent on ending extreme poverty, has rapidly delivered record levels of support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, reinforce health systems, maintain the private sector, and bolster economic recovery.
This assistance has been described as the largest and fastest crisis response in the Bank Group’s history, due to the volumes and time span of which funds are being pumped out to support desperate countries hard hit by the virus.
The Bank Group’s operational response hopes to strengthen health systems, support the poorest households, and create supportive conditions to maintain livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.
In a statement announcing this action, it indicated that countries’ operations will deliver help to the poorest families through cash transfers and job support; maintain food security, nutrition and continuity of essential services such as clean water and education; target the most vulnerable groups, including women and forcibly displaced communities, who are most likely to be hit hard; and engage communities to support vulnerable households and foster social cohesion.
The scale and speed of the Bank Group’s response is critical in helping countries mitigate the adverse impacts of this crisis, and prioritise the human capital investments that can accelerate recovery.
World Bank Group President David Malpass said: “The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty – erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation.”
He adds: “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 programmes. 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.”
Of the 100 countries, 39 are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nearly one-third of the total projects are in fragile and conflict-affected situations, such as Afghanistan, Chad, Haiti, and Niger.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) have also fast-tracked support to businesses in developing countries, including trade finance and working capital to maintain private sector jobs and livelihoods.