World Bank to mobilise $510bn for Nigeria, others

The World Bank is mobilising about $510bn to support Nigeria and other African countries as an emergency response to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its health and economic impact.

The World Bank Group is reportedly willing to commit up to $160bn within the next 15 months, and up to $350bn in 2023.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this, did not fail to express Africa’s support for the mobilisation of $100bn in response to fighting the pandemic, and with $44bn of the amount set aside for immediate debt relief.

Speaking at the Development Committee Plenary of the 2020 Virtual Spring Meetings of the WBG and the International Monetary Fund, the minister noted that African countries, while responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the severe disruptions in the global economy, had been equally forced to contend with multiple external shocks arising therefrom, such as falling commodity prices, decelerating remittance flows, capital outflows, trade disruptions and rapidly rising debt levels.

Her words, “It is in this regard that we appreciate the WBG for its timely response with the $14bn meant to assist countries to mitigate the initial impact of the pandemic on the human population. We also welcome and commend the bank for its strong and forward-looking commitment to support developing countries’ efforts to restart their economies.”

Ahmed called for more support for the private sector whose involvement in kick-starting the economies required support.

She said, “Given that the private sector will be critical in the revamping of our economies, we urge International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency to be more counter-cyclical, ambitious and visible in Africa.”

According to the minister, for most of the African countries, the commitment to early rebound is clear, while conceding that the constraints are more.

“The IMF, in its recent World Economic Outlook, projected that Sub-Saharan Africa’s Gross Domestic Product would contract by 1.6 per cent in 2020.

“The call by African leaders for the international community to scale up urgent support to vulnerable SSA countries to enable them cope with COVID-19 is not only timely but urgent,” she said.

Apart from welcoming the agreement of the G20 on the debt service moratorium for poorer countries, she added that the continent commended both the World Bank President, David Malpass, and his IMF counterpart, KristalinaGeorgieva, for calling for immediate debt relief to create fiscal headroom for poor countries, urging all creditors, including multilateral and bilateral creditors, Paris Club and commercial creditors to participate in the initiative.

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