World Bank Targets COVID-related Projects in 100 Countries
By Adedapo Adesanya
The World Bank Group has disclosed that it will have COVID-19-related projects in 100 countries by the end of April.
President of the institution, Mr David Malpass, said this while giving his address at the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) virtual meeting.
Mr Malpass said that the world bank had been focused on taking fast and broad-based action, especially for the poorest countries during the current global pandemic.
He said that the bank was taking steps to provide unprecedented financing to help countries respond to the crisis.
“The World Bank Group has been focused on taking fast, broad-based action, especially for the poorest countries. By the end of April, we expect to have Covid-related projects in 100 countries, and we are taking steps to provide $160 billion of financing over the next 15 months.
“We thank our shareholders for the capital and funding that you provided for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). I invite and urge your early subscriptions.
“This will help materially with the COVID-19 response. We very much appreciate yesterday’s subscription by the United States, which increased the subscribed capital of IBRD by nearly $9.8 billion.
“I strongly welcome the G20’s announcement yesterday to allow the IDA countries that request forbearance to suspend repayment of official bilateral credit on May 1.
”Having the commitment and agreement of all official creditors is a huge achievement, and I commend all involved.
“Kristalina (MD, IMF) and I championed the debt initiative, and we’re committed to taking all the possible steps to support it. Commercial creditors would be expected to provide comparable treatment,” he said.
According to him, the World Bank will be providing massively scaled up and frontloaded net transfers to IDA countries on highly concessional terms and the IMF has its own highly impactful initiatives.
“This is a powerful, fast-acting initiative that will bring real benefits to the people in poor countries.
“Beneficiary countries will use the additional resources to respond to COVID-19 and will fully disclose their public sector financial commitments.
“The World Bank and IMF are being asked to monitor their disclosures and use of the fiscal space created by the debt relief,” he explained.
Mr Malpass further said that this type of broad debt and investment transparency is a high priority for development and recovery from the crisis, especially urgent in the context of COVID-19, and the low-for-long interest rate environment.
The president noted that it was critical to create the principles of transparency that would reverse the huge capital outflow from developing countries and make debt and investment more productive.
He added that many difficult steps were needed to provide debt transparency and improve the quality of investment. These, he said include disclosure of loan contract terms and payment schedules.
Mr Malpass also cited some others as full disclosure of the stock of public and publicly guaranteed debt, SOE liabilities, and debt-like instruments; and steps by borrowers to request relief from excessive confidentiality clauses in order to proceed with transparent data reporting.