WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 — The World Bank has approved a $2.5 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant to assist the government of Sao Tome and Principe in responding to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sao Tome and Principe COVID-19 Emergency Response project will strengthen the government’s immediate capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and inititate the strengthening of its response to disease outbreaks and emergencies.
The project will also help support the preparedness and response at national and subnational levels; enhance surveillance capacity for early detection, case management and contact tracing; as well as support health promotion and community mobilization for the protection and prevention to COVID-19. In addition, it will help the country adopt a “One Health” approach to improve the coordination mechanism for preparedness and response activities for public health emergencies.
“This project prepared in record time by the World Bank health team and in close coordination with WHO, will boost the country’s preparedness and ability to respond in the face of COVID-19. This is critical for small island economies like Sao Tome and Principe that are particularly vulnerable to such outbreaks,” said Olivier Lambert, Country Manager for Angola and Sao Tome and Principe.
The support Sao Tome and Principe is receiving is part of a fast-track package of more than $14 billion that the World Bank Group is rolling out 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.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.