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February 11, 2020

How the World Bank Group is helping countries address COVID-19 (coronavirus)

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Overview


(Last Updated: July 30, 2021)

As countries around the world work to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19, the World Bank Group has mounted the largest crisis response in its history to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response.

With the pandemic’s rapid spread into developing countries, the World Bank Group is working hard to deliver support to clients. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Bank Group has committed over $157 billion to fight the impacts of the pandemic. Provided from April 2020 to June 2021, it includes over $50 billion of IDA resources on grant and highly concessional terms.  Our support is tailored to the health, economic, and social shocks that countries are facing.

The Bank Group’s support is helping over 100 developing countries save lives and detect, prevent, and respond to COVID-19.  The financing is also helping address the health emergency, strengthen health systems, protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, create jobs and jump start a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.

The World Bank is making $20 billion available to help developing countries finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.  In addition, the Bank has partnered with COVAX on a new financing mechanism that will let COVAX make advance purchases – beyond the fully subsidized doses they are receiving from donors – to help speed up the vaccine supply.

We are also partnering with the Africa Union to provide desperately needed vaccines: our support to the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative will help countries purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people. 

IFC is providing $4 billion through its Global Health Platform to increase the supply and local production of vaccines and personal protective equipment in developing countries. IFC is supporting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Africa. It has partnered with French, German, and U.S. development finance institutions on a €600 million investment in South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare, which is playing a major role producing COVID-19 treatments, therapies, and vaccines on the African continent.

In addition to ongoing support for health systems, our operations emphasize social protection, especially through cash transfers, as well as poverty alleviation and policy-based financing.   The World Bank is also working to restructure, redeploy, and reallocate existing resources in projects it finances.  

The World Bank Group’s crisis response comprises three stages – relief, restructuring, and resilient recovery.  It focuses on four main areas:

  • Saving lives – We are helping countries stop transmission, deliver health services, ensure vulnerable households’ access to medical care, and build readiness for future pandemics. Low- and middle-income countries need fair and equitable access to vaccines, and the Bank Group is helping make sure they don’t get left behind.   We have vaccination programs amounting to over $4 billion approved for more than 50 countries.

    The Bank, along with the World Health Organization, helped Yemen establish 37 isolation units and supply medicines and medical equipment. It also supported training and deployment of rapid response teams to 84 high priority districts, where they are helping detect and respond to COVID-19.
  • Protecting poor and vulnerable people – We are supporting income and food supplies for the most vulnerable as well as employment for poorer households, informal businesses, and microenterprises.  We are helping communities and local governments cope with crisis impacts, improve and expand services, and build resilience for future shocks.

    The Bank is supporting Ecuador’s efforts to meet the challenges of the pandemic by creating additional fiscal space, increasing labor flexibility, and protecting migrants using targeted social programs. The first phase of the emergency transfer program delivered two monthly installments of $60 to 400,000 vulnerable households that were not already benefiting from social assistance programs; another 422,000 households received a $120 one-time payment in May–June 2020.
  • Ensuring sustainable business growth and job creation – We are providing policy advice and financial assistance to businesses and financial institutions, to help preserve jobs and ensure that companies, especially small and medium enterprises, can weather the crisis and return to growth.

    We are working with Central African Republic to support its largest cash-for-work program, which has produced 10 million masks while generating livelihood opportunities for about 18,000 people and 300 local firms.
  • Strengthening policies, institutions, and investments – With an emphasis on governance and institutions, we are helping countries prepare for a resilient recovery.  Working closely with the IMF, we are helping countries manage public debt better, make key reforms in financial management, and identify opportunities for green growth and low-carbon development as their economies recover.

    The Bank is helping Bangladesh expand its electronic procurement to all government procurement activities. To respond to the pandemic and any other future emergencies, the financing will enable key upgrades, including international bidding, direct contracting, framework agreement, electronic contract management and payment, procurement data analytics, and geo-tagging.

Learn more about how the World Bank is helping countries around the world tackle the COVID-19 pandemic: East Asia and the PacificEurope and Central AsiaLatin America and CaribbeanMiddle East and North AfricaSouth Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

IFC is deploying $8 billion in fast-track financing, with the goal of sustaining businesses, preserving jobs, and helping the private sector contribute to an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient recovery. Much of this funding has helped micro, small, and medium businesses, which are a major source of job creation in developing countries, as well as women entrepreneurs.

MIGA has launched a $6.5 billion facility to support private sector investors and lenders in tackling the pandemic. It redirects MIGA’s capacity toward the urgent purchase of medical equipment, working capital for small and medium enterprises, and support for governments’ short-term funding needs.

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2021