Guyana’s development partner, The World Bank decided last Thursday to launch its first aid operations to improve the capacities of 25 key countries in their fight to manage the outbreak of COVID-19.
Guyana, identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as one of the least prepared to manage the outbreak of the virus, is not included.
The World Bank’s project uses a dedicated, fast-track facility for the response, the bank stated, and amounts to US$1.9B.
The countries benefitting from this project are Afghanistan, Argentina, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay, São Tomé e Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, The Gambia and Yemen.
It is noted that Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay, included in this list, are all Guyana’s regional neighbours who are included in the IMF’s report, not as ill-prepared as Guyana is.
The IMF had said that the top priority is ensuring that front-line health-related spending is available to protect people’s well-being, take care of the sick, and slow the spread of the virus.
“In countries where there are limitations in healthcare systems, the international community must step in to help them avert a humanitarian crisis,” the IMF stated.
Guyana had approached the Bank in March for US$5M to aid in its fight to resist the outbreak, through the Bank’s Rapid Response Emergency Facility.
Former Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who leads the country’s COVID-19 National Task Force, told reporters Saturday during a live press conference that the application was still being processed, even as the Bank has begun the execution of its first aid operations.
While Guyana is not benefitting from The World Bank’s first aid operations, it awaits possible future disbursements.
A statement noted that new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries using the fast-track process.
Additionally, the Bank said that it is working to redeploy resources in existing World Bank financed projects worth up to US$1.7B, and spanning every region.
“The World Bank Group is prepared to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures that will help countries respond to immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery,” it stated.
The Bank said that its broader economic program aims to shorten recovery time, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and the vulnerable. A strong focus in its operations poverty, with an emphasis on policy-based financing, and protecting the poorest households and the environment.
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