WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 –The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors today approved $47 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to fund the emergency response to the COVID-19 epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Project aims to boost the capacity of the government of the DRC to prepare for and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, while focusing on critical provinces to contain the epidemic.
“It is crucial to provide immediate support to the Congolese government in its efforts to contain the COVID-19 epidemic in Kinshasa, which is currently the epicenter, in order to prevent its rapid spread throughout the population and halt the disease’s progress toward the provinces,” explained Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Burundi.
The project will provide immediate support to implement containment strategies, train medical personnel, and distribute equipment to ensure rapid testing of potential cases and contact tracing, in accordance with guidelines from the World Health Organization and the strategic response plan.
This support will also be particularly useful in helping Kinshasa and its hinterland (Bas-Congo, Kwango, and Kwilu) establish a cordon sanitaire to limit the spread of the epidemic outside of the capital. Moreover, it will strengthen testing capacity and acute emergency health care in Lubumbashi and Goma, particularly with a view to improving coordination among the provinces.
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. This immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion in financing to this effort to help private companies affected by the pandemic and to preserve jobs. International Bank of Reconstruction and Development and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health response. In order to provide broader support to meet country needs, 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 International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.