COVID-19:World Bank, IMF to support Africa with $57bn


 The World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund have committed to supporting Africa in its fight against the coronavirus disease.

The two Bretton Wood institutions have been able to mobilise about $57bn for Africa in 2020 alone – including about $18bn from the IMF and the World Bank each – to provide frontline health services, support the vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of what appears to be the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s.

According to a report by the IMF, Africa needs an estimated $114bn in 2020 to combat the pandemic, despite private creditors’ support projected to be around $13bn. This leaves a large financing gap of about $44bn.

The World Bank and IMF have thrown their weights behind the continent and have since recommended a range of financing options and policy tools as part of the response to the pandemic. One of such is seeking further financing from official and private-sector creditors.

President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, said, “The World Bank Group is putting its full capacity to work for people across Africa as they fight this pandemic. The world has rarely seen a crisis of this magnitude, and no one can stand on the sidelines; we cannot leave any country behind in our response.

“We have provided emergency support to 30 countries across Africa so far, with more to come, and will continue to advocate debt relief and increase resources, especially for those countries hardest hit by COVID-19.”

Similarly, the Managing Director of IMF, KristalinaGeorgieva, said the Fund was mobilising support for the continent to help mitigate the ‘blow’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, promising to provide more concessional funding.

She said, “Our message is clear: We are standing with Africa. Through our commitments today, we are Mobilising with Africa to help soften the blow of COVID-19 on the continent.

“The pandemic is having a monumental impact across Africa and the IMF is leaning forward with many other partners to leverage our resources to help save lives and livelihoods.

“The IMF will provide more concessional financing and we count on others to step out and do their part, to shield the economy and the people, and provide the foundations for a strong and sustainable recovery.”

The two institutions were two of the loudest voices calling for G20’s debt relief for poor and developing countries.

The World Bank, it is reported, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response; and it is also deploying $55bn in support for Africa over the 15 months to enable countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

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