The World Bank has granted $1 billion emergency funding to India for strengthening infrastructure to contain coronavirus. These funds are meant to develop the machinery required for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The first group of projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries, World Bank said in statement on Thursday. Efforts are being made to redeploy resources in existing World Bank financed projects worth $1.7 billion. The World Bank said it is ready to infuse $160 billion over the next 15 months that will help address immediate health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and bolster economic recovery.
"This fast action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and we already have health response operations moving forward in over 65 countries," said World Bank Group President David Malpass. "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."
World Bank said 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. 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, it added.
Out of the 25 countries, India has received the biggest grant at $1 billion. "In India, $1 billion emergency financing will support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics; procure personal protective equipment; and set up new isolation wards," World Bank said.
The World Bank granted $200 million to Pakistan, which will support its "preparedness and emergency response in the health sector and include social protection and education measures to help the poor and vulnerable cope with the immediate impacts of the pandemic". Emergency financing of $100 million went to Afghanistan help the country check the spread of COVID-19 through enhanced detection, surveillance, and laboratory systems, as well as stronger essential health care delivery and intensive care. World Bank has also approved $7.3 million for Maldives and $128.6 million for Sri Lanka.
Moreover, International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. It is already working to rapidly deploy a pipeline of approximately 300 companies across emerging markets to shore up private sector activity, World Bank said in its statement.
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