THE World Bank has alerted that COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown of economies could push 60 million people into extreme poverty.
A statement signed by World Bank 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.
“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 programs. 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,” he said.
World Bank stated further that it had since March, rapidly delivered record levels of support in order to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, reinforce health systems, maintain the private sector, and bolster economic recovery.
This assistance, the largest and fastest crisis response in the Bank Group’s history, marks a milestone in implementing the Bank Group’s pledge to make available $160 billion in grants and financial support 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 bank added that it would support the beneficiary countries with grants, loans and equity investments which would be supplemented by the suspension of bilateral debt service, as endorsed by its governors.
According to Malpass, “The bilateral debt-service suspension being offered will free up crucial resources for IDA countries to fund emergency responses to COVID-19. Nations should move quickly to substantially increase the transparency of all their governments’ financial commitments. This will increase the confidence in the investment climate and encourage more beneficial debt and investment in the future.”
World Bank said its intervention would strengthen health systems, support the poorest households, and create supportive conditions to maintain livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.