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World Bank finalizing $ 160bn COVID-19 relief programme

WASHINGTON, 28 March 2020, IANS: The World Bank Group President David Malpass said hat the multilateral lender was finalizing a package that could provide as much as $160 billion in financial support for the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The goals are to shorten the time to recovery; create conditions for growth; support small and medium enterprises; and help protect the poor and vulnerable,” Malpass told a conference call of the Extraordinary Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders’ Summit on Thursday.

Noting that the World Bank has approved a $14 billion package focused on the immediate health and social consequences of the outbreak, Malpass said “we’re now finalizing an additional package that will focus on the broader economic consequences”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The World Bank President further said that on Wednesday, he presented a program to the Board that could provide as much as $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months.

“I’m particularly concerned about poor, densely populated countries such as India, where weak health systems need massively scalable investments in human capital, supplies and infrastructure,” Malpass said. “We are working hard to provide support through our public and private sector tools,” he said.

Malpass noted the World Bank has new COVID-related projects underway in 56 countries, encouraging other multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches. The World Bank is restructuring existing projects in 24 countries in order to direct funds to the health emergency.

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