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PRESS RELEASE April 2, 2020

$486 Million in World Bank Financing for Europe and Central Asia Countries to Address Health, Economic Impacts of COVID-19

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 — Countries in Europe and Central Asia will benefit from a fast-track facility, and other funding, to help mitigate and address the impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, as part of an initial global emergency response package approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Directors.

Twenty-five countries worldwide will receive a total of nearly $2 billion from this first batch of funding under the World Bank’s fast-track COVID-19 facility, including two countries in Europe and Central Asia. Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic will receive $11.3 million and $12.15 million, respectively.

In addition, several countries in the region are receiving World Bank support through other funding means, including early disbursement or restructuring of existing projects and loans. In the Kyrgyz Republic, $9 million is being reallocated through the Enhancing Resilience in Kyrgyzstan Project to procure 20 fully equipped ambulances, mobile equipment, and personal protection equipment. Romania has drawn EUR 400 million (about $441 million) from a special catastrophe credit line (CAT-DDO). Kazakhstan has restructured part of its Social Health Insurance Project to provide $10 million for critical medical equipment. Armenia is using $3 million to finance the procurement of intensive care and personal protective equipment for frontline health workers.

“Countries across Europe and Central Asia, as in other parts of the world, are faced with a health emergency that has immediate social and economic implications, unlike any other in recent memory,” said Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “The World Bank is responding with all the tools and funding at its disposal to help countries in their efforts to mitigate impacts on people’s lives.”

Currently, more than ten countries across the Europe and Central Asia region are discussing projects with the World Bank to help mitigate and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are working very closely with governments across the region to minimize loss of life, strengthen health systems, and mitigate the economic impact,” said Anna Bjerde, Incoming Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “This first batch of funding is an immediate effort to save lives today, and through subsequent phases, safeguard people’s jobs and livelihoods tomorrow.”

To date, the World Bank’s COVID-19 response in Europe and Central Asia includes the following countries:

Tajikistan – $11.3 million in fast-track financing will help expand intensive care capacity through equipment, supplies, and training, as well as supporting coordination and communication with the public. The most vulnerable households will also be protected through temporary social assistance.

The Kyrgyz Republic – $12.15 million will help boost the capacity of rapid-response teams, hospitals and laboratories by providing medical and laboratory supplies, ICU equipment, and preparedness funds for hospitals. In addition, $9 million is being reallocated through the ongoing Enhancing Resilience in Kyrgyzstan Project to procure 20 fully equipped ambulances, mobile equipment for Rapid Response Teams, and personal protection equipment for frontline medical staff.

Romania – Disbursement of EUR 400 million (around $441 million) will help the country increase coverage of primary health care, especially for under-served populations, and improve the efficiency of health spending.

Kazakhstan – $10 million has helped make available 236 artificial pulmonary ventilation (APV) devices, necessary for treating an increasing number of people with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the regions of Kazakhstan, and there are plans to provide additional financing for 123 more APV devices.

Armenia – $3 million is financing the procurement of intensive care and personal protective equipment for frontline health workers to support the management of severe acute respiratory infections among people with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health-response.  As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.



Carl Hanlon