The number of countries now benefiting from the World Bank’s emergency financial aid operations to tackle COVID-19 now stands at 39, according to an April 7 update.
Kaieteur News had recently reported that the Bank’s first aid package, amounting to US$1.9B for 25 countries, excluded Guyana. This package is under the Bank’s fast track facility, which now lists 27 countries. Guyana still looks forward to aid from this facility, as the Bank has committed about US$14B therefore.
In addition, the Bank has started executing an additional deployment of funds to 15 countries, through other forms of finance and redeployment of existing projects. Three of these countries are also beneficiaries of the fast track facility. Guyana is excluded from this lot too.
Former Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, recently told the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN), in a telephone interview that the last communication he got from the Bank was that it is “doing the assessment”.
What has been of concern to some is the worry that Guyana’s protracted electoral process could hurt its ability to secure international aid. This is premised on the fact that Guyana has been on the receiving end of international condemnation, as well as warnings that sanctions could be laid if a government is sworn in on the basis of flawed elections results.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had responded to the international statements, especially that of the US, citing its independence. Then, US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch warned Guyana not to become another Venezuela. Guyana’s immediate neighbour to the West has lost the recognition of a considerable US-led movement of the international community.
One such notable implication of the lack of recognition for Venezuela’s government is the recent refusal by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to consider the Bolivarian Republic’s request for COVID-19 financial aid. The IMF had said that its refusal was premised on the fact that there is not enough clarity on the legitimacy of Venezuela’s government, since it could not boast the recognition of the international community due to flawed elections.
Jordan had urged persons not to believe any misinformation or insinuation that Guyana’s request for funding has been denied.
But the current lack of support to Guyana, deemed by the IMF as one of the least prepared countries in the hemisphere to tackle COVID-19, brings uncertainty in the absence of a clear public statement from the US-based World Bank.
The Bank has been challenged by more than 80 global organisations to advocate for a credible electoral process and the installation of a lawful government, and to withdraw support if that is not ensured.
Nevertheless, Guyana could benefit from future disbursements, as the Bank noted that it is prepared to deploy up to US$160B 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.
The countries listed as of yesterday as the beneficiaries of The World Bank’s emergency aid under its fast track facility are Cabo Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Sao Tome e Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Cambodia, Mongolia, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Argentina, Ecuador, Haiti, Paraguay, Djibouti, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The countries benefitting from other forms of finance and redeployment of existing projects are Cambodia, Mongolia, Samoa, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Romania, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, West Bank & Gaza.
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