The Steering Body of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) has allotted US$195.84 million to 64 of the world’s poorest countries with reported cases of COVID-19. Special attention will be given to areas with the most vulnerable populations, especially in fragile and conflict-affected countries.
The funds will provide additional support to these countries in their COVID-19 response, including essential and critical lifesaving medical equipment, personal protective equipment, therapeutics and medicine, and support for health workers on the frontlines of the crisis. The PEF, a financing mechanism housed at the World Bank, is designed to provide an additional source of financing to help the world’s poorest countries respond to cross-border, large-scale outbreaks. Established in 2016 to provide financial support to low-income countries in case of major multi-country disease outbreaks, the PEF was designed to provide financing through either its cash or insurance windows, covering viruses that are most likely to cause a pandemic.
The allocation of US$195.84 million is the amount received when the PEF insurance window triggered for COVID-19 as reported by AIR Worldwide, an independent calculation agent. At the time all trigger conditions were met, 4,653 cases, or 0.62% of reported COVID-19 cases globally, were from the world’s poorest countries that are members of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). In the East Asia Pacific region eight countries—Cambodia, Fiji, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, PNG, Timor Leste and Vietnam—have also received PEF grants (see story above).
Specific funding allocations will be determined by population size and reported cases, with a minimum of US$1 million and maximum of US$15 million going to each country, and a heavier weight given to countries classified as fragile or conflict-affected. These countries face greater challenges with their health systems and are home to the most vulnerable people. Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, it was already estimated that up to two thirds of the world’s extreme poor would live in fragile and conflict affected areas by 2030.
This US$195.84 million funding, allocated on April 27, 2020 is in addition to the World Bank Group’s commitment of up to US$160 billion to fight COVID-19 worldwide.