COVID-19 Could Push 60 Mln People Into Extreme Poverty: World Bank

COVID-19, which forced shutdown of advanced economies across the world, could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty, erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation, according to the World Bank.

This was unveiled by World Bank Group President David Malpass Wednesday while announcing the details of its emergency operations to fight coronavirus pandemic in 100 developing countries.

This assistance, the largest and fastest crisis response in the Bank Group’s history, marks a milestone in implementing the Bank Group’s pledge to make available $160 billion in grants and financial support over a 15-month period to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the economic shutdown in advanced countries.

Of the 100 countries, 39 are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank also announced the suspension of bilateral debt service, which will free up crucial resources for IDA countries to fund emergency responses to COVID-19.

“To return to growth, our goal must be rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, provide cash and other expandable support to protect the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery”, said Malpass.

Disbursement is already underway on $20 million to Senegal and $35 million to Ghana. A $20 million IDA grant was approved for Haiti. A $95 million financing package was alloted for Uzbekistan, and $100 million granted to Tunisia.

Pakistan was provied fiancial assistance to import the medical supplies critical for fighting COVID-19.

The World Bank approved $100 million for the Philippines.

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