World Bank breaks record with $157bn support for 100 countries in 2021


At the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings on Friday, the Development Committee specially praised the World Bank Group (WBG) for its largest crisis response in history.

The panel of 25 members, comprising Ministers of Finance or Development, represents the full membership of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The body said through the 2021 fiscal year, the World Bank committed $157billion to protect the poor and vulnerable, expand social protection, support businesses, and preserve and create jobs.

More than 100 countries gained from emergency health response and reinforcement of health systems, a communique read.

The committee said global economy is experiencing an uneven recovery, with uncertainty about the path of the pandemic.

Also, low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs) continue to see high COVID-19 caseloads, risks of new variants, vaccine supply bottlenecks, and obstacles to vaccination.

The experts decried how the pandemic reversed progress on the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity in a sustainable manner, as well as on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They regretted than an estimated 100 million more people have fallen into extreme poverty, millions of jobs lost, while informality, underemployment, and food insecurity have increased.

On measures to suppress the coronavirus damages, the body hailed the World Bank for saving lives, restarting economies, financing the purchase and distribution through COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). There have engagements in 55 countries.

The WBG, IMF, WHO, and WTO task force were encouraged to leverage global partnerships; scale up production; rapidly disburse financing to facilitate deployment and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines; and finance critical testing, diagnostics, and treatment.

“We also support the task force’s work to promote and report on country readiness and actions to address bottlenecks. We recognize IFC’s role in boosting vaccine production and supporting medical equipment manufacturers in developing countries, including through its Global Health Platform.

“We also commend MIGA for increasing private sector investments. We ask the WBG to continue exploring innovative solutions that can mobilize private financing to developing countries.”

Noting that all nations face risks including pandemics, natural disasters, and climate-related events, the commission urged them to formulate stronger policies, mechanisms, institutions, and resources to bolster resilience.

The World Bank was tasked to continue providing flexible, rapid financing for the most vulnerable, including in small states and FCV situations.

The institution is expected to harness knowledge and lessons learned, while addressing and monitoring such risks as food shortages, malnutrition, cybersecurity threats, and increased due diligence on supply chain disruptions.

The Development Committee wants the World Bank to remain engaged in strengthening crisis prevention, preparedness, and response, and to play a role in global health architecture.

“The WBG should continue supporting a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery, in line with longer-term objectives for sustainable development.

“Climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation have compounded the pandemic’s effects on poverty reduction, inequality, human capital, migration, gender equality, FCV, and food security, with small states, LICs, and MICs all showing acute vulnerabilities.

“With resources scarce, the WBG, along with other IFIs, should advise on essential reforms, help enhance equitable domestic resource mobilization and the quality of public spending, combat illicit financial flows, foster an enabling environment for private and public investments, and work to strengthen institutions.”

The statement thanked Ms. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Barbados, for her guidance and leadership as Chair of the Committee during the past year.

Ms. Azucena Arbeleche, Minister of Economy and Finance of Uruguay, will lead the group for the November 2021–October 2022 period.

The next meeting of the Development Committee is scheduled for April 22, 2022, in Washington, DC.

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