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PRESS RELEASE December 8, 2020

Nicaragua Will Receive World Bank Support to Strengthen its Response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 8, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$20 million loan to support Nicaragua’s response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. This project will enable the population, particularly its most vulnerable segments, to benefit from essential medicines and laboratory and hospital equipment during the national response to the pandemic.

"The World Bank has long been a partner of our country. With this new financing, which we receive under highly concessional conditions, we will be able to join forces to meet the needs of our people,” said Finance Minister Iván Acosta. "We are grateful for the trust that the World Bank has placed in our country, which has been severely impacted by a pandemic and further affected by the recent hurricanes Eta and Iota."

The Nicaragua COVID-19 Emergency Response Project aims to benefit Nicaragua’s 6.3 million inhabitants by helping to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by this pandemic. Given their increased risk of infection, healthcare workers and specific at-risk population groups, such as the elderly and people with chronic diseases, will be prioritized in the interventions.

Funded by the International Development Association (IDA), the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries, the project will be implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Strict fiduciary requirements will be maintained to ensure that the resources are used to benefit the Nicaraguan people.

"We will work closely with Nicaragua and our United Nations partners to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives and advance economic recovery," said Kinnon Scott, the World Bank Resident Representative in Nicaragua. "We want to collaborate with Nicaragua, especially with its poorest citizens, who have been disproportionately affected by these 2020 health and climate crises."

The project will finance critical supplies for national hospitals. It will prioritize 19 hospitals located in the areas of the country most affected by the pandemic and the severe weather events and, consequently, where emergency response efforts are concentrated.

The supplies eligible for project financing will be selected from a list of essential life-saving medical and laboratory supplies and equipment based on original lists of the World Health Organization (WHO). These include infusion pumps, essential medicines, laryngoscopes, devices to monitor vital signs, humidifiers and nebulizers. The purchase of energy-efficient medical equipment will help mitigate climate change and reduce the economic burden on the healthcare facilities providing care during the pandemic. In addition to strengthening pandemic surveillance, improving laboratory capacity through the acquisition of supplies will facilitate adaptation to possible climate-related vector-borne diseases, thus increasing the resilience of Nicaragua's healthcare system and the portion of its population vulnerable to climate change.

The US$ 20 million loan for the Nicaragua COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, which is part of the World Bank's global response to COVID-19, has an implementation period of two years and three months. The loan matures in 30 years, including a five-year grace period.

The response of the World Bank group to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

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. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.

The World Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.


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