WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 —To help Ethiopia mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $82.6 million ($41.3 million grant and $41.3 million credit) from the International Development Association*.
“Although Ethiopia has achieved significant gains in improving health outcomes and strengthening its health system, the COVID 19 outbreak is expected to challenge the nation’s public health preparedness and response systems and negatively impact the economy,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. “The project will provide much needed emergency funds to help Ethiopia to fill critical resource gaps in its public health emergency preparedness.”
The new COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project is designed to help Ethiopia develop counter measures to lessen the devastating effects of COVID-19. The project will support Ethiopia’s National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 by financing the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, building diagnostic capacity and training, improving the health screening of people entering into the country, and establishing quarantine, isolation and treatment centers. It will also support communications and information outreach activities to encourage behavioral change, such as social distancing, handwashing and sanitation. Furthermore, the project will help the country to reduce the potential impact of the epidemic on health systems, social services and economic activity.
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.
* 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.