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BRIEF October 8, 2021

IDA in South Asia: Driving Development and Changing Lives

World Bank Group


IDA support has helped deliver results across sectors, including agriculture and food security, education, energy, health, and infrastructure in the region's IDA countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan.

As countries in the region grapple with the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued IDA support is critical to contain the impacts of the pandemic and ensure a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.


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In Maldives, the World Bank has helped provide $19 million income support to over 18,000 workers who lost their jobs or incomes due to COVID19, especially women and self-employed individuals who are often involved in informal sectors. Photo: NISHAN ALI


Helping countries cope and recover from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic plunged South Asia into a health and economic crisis, worsening income inequality, eroding human capital and reversing development gains by almost three years. 

The World Bank has responded rapidly, rolling out over $20 billion of funding since March 2020, including $12.8 billion from IDA. This support has helped governments buy vital protective equipment and medical supplies for frontline workers, purchase and deploy vaccines, provide learning to children, deliver cash transfers and food to the most vulnerable, and support small businesses.

Going forward, South Asian countries will require continued support to address the impacts of the pandemic, tackle long-term structural challenges, and achieve lasting development results by building back better.


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IDA and South Asia

The South Asia region is the second-largest IDA recipient after Sub-Saharan Africa. South Asia received $10.1 billion under IDA18 (2017-2020) and $10.3 billion under IDA19 (2020-2023) funding cycles. Bangladesh is the region’s largest recipient of IDA credits, grants, and knowledge.

IDA has spurred transformative changes in South Asia over the years, contributing to poverty reduction, human capital development and increased prosperity.


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