WASHINGTON, September 30, 2020 — Today, the World Bank approved a grant of $21.99 million to help Sudan mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the total amount provided, $6.5 million is provided by the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Trust Fund (HEPRTF), and $15.49 million is provided by the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support Trust Fund (STARS), out of which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed US$10M.
“The Sudanese government has made significant efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and has put in place a plan to mobilize resources. We are glad to support these efforts, and we are committed to help the government in addressing some of the remaining challenges, such as lack of adequate capacity and delays in implementation,” said Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented social and economic impact on Sudan, including increased prices of basic foods, rising unemployment, and falling exports. The crisis has also highlighted the importance of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices, which remain inadequate. The outbreak is anticipated to further challenge the county’s public health preparedness and response systems and adversely impact the economy.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very pleased to partner with the World Bank and other development partners in this important project, which will bring great benefits to the people of Sudan,” said Mohammed Aljadaan, Minister of Finance.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Project is designed to help Sudan develop counter measures to mitigate the devastating effects of COVID-19 by supporting Sudan’s National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 and enabling the country to better prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the pandemic.
Specifically, it will strengthen the national systems for public health preparedness by implementing evidence-based interventions, such as: supporting response efforts at points of entry; enhancing leadership and coordination; strengthening risk communication and community engagement to raise public awareness and promote behavioral change among communities, including social distancing, handwashing and sanitation; improving case detection and contact tracing as well as improving national laboratories; supporting infection prevention and control through triage and provision of personal protective equipment; improving clinical and case management capacity; and supporting the government’s operational and logistical capacity. Furthermore, the project aims to further improve the government’s capacity by using the country’s existing systems and providing the required technical assistance for local health institutions at the federal and state levels.
The HEPRTF was set up earlier this year to provide incentives to low-income countries to increase investments in health preparedness and support the immediate COVID-19 response. After an initial contribution of $100m from the Government of Japan, Sudan is the first country to receive funding from the HEPRTF.
“The HEPRTF will play a critical role in helping member countries build resilient health systems and design countermeasures in proactive, effective, and prompt manners,” said Atsushi Mimura, Deputy Director-General of the International Bureau, Ministry of Finance Japan. “In particular, its support to Sudan will mark a significant milestone for the country’s economic growth going forward. We will continue to closely cooperate with the World Bank Group in our fight against the current pandemic and possible future incidents, through pandemic preparedness and response.”
“The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Trust Fund incentivizes countries to finance health emergency preparedness in a catalytic way,” said Muhammad Pate, the World Bank’s Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population. “The Sudan project financing shows how the HEPRTF is working in concert with other funding sources to fill gaps, respond quickly and provide complementary support.”
The Sudan Transition and Recovery Support Trust Fund (STARS) is an umbrella coordination platform for World Bank engagement in Sudan, supporting the Government of Sudan’s economic and peacebuilding transition. STARS partners include European Union, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, State and Peacebuilding Fund, and United Kingdom. The COVID 19 project was made possible through the generous contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State and Peacebuilding Fund.
COVID- World Bank Group Response
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms. The HEPRF funding is in addition and complements the World Bank’s response.