WASHINGTON, May 6, 2022—Today, the World Bank Group approved a $75 million loan for the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to accelerate post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The Economic Recovery Development Policy Loan II is the second in a programmatic series of two operations to support Eswatini’s economic reform program and generate a sustainable recovery. The program supports Eswatini’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery program and its efforts to implement critical structural reforms to strengthen the management and governance of public finances, improve transparency and accountability in the public sector, and facilitate the development of the private sector.
More importantly, the program will help improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable by supporting policy and institutional actions that not only protect lives and livelihoods but generate economic opportunities for people and promote better public service delivery.
“The reforms supported by this operation are pro-poor and will contribute to poverty reduction and positive social impacts in the short to medium term”, says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. “It will help Eswatini to build back better by focusing on people who have been hardest hit by the recent series of crisis and by addressing structural issues that were holding back Eswatini well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing to support the governance and transparency agenda through this operation will contribute to building citizen trust and public-private collaboration.”
To deepen and advance reforms initiated under the first Development Policy Loan, which was approved in 2020, the program aims to stabilize the country’s fiscal position, improve competitiveness, and support economic recovery, while at the same time supporting policy responses to strengthen the health system and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable. Specific measures to strengthen transparency, accountability and efficiency of public spending include the creation of a single government treasury account to ensure sustainability of fiscal discipline, the modernization of the public procurement strategy, including through the use of e-GP system, and the adoption of the state-owned enterprise (SOE) framework to streamline and improve the performance of SOEs which at present represent a substantial drain on public resources while constraining the growth of the private sector.
World Bank Group COVID-19 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 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 in financial support 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.