Latin America And Caribbean Gets US$20.7b Support From World Bank In COVID Fight

(CMC) – The World Bank Group (WBG) says it has deployed US$20.7 billion during its just completed fiscal year in June to support Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as the region continues to deal with the negative impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The WBG said this brings its support to LAC since April 1, 2020, to an unprecedented total of US$49.8 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19, as well as support the region’s response to the overlapping challenges of the sharp economic slowdown, rising inflation and deepening food insecurity due to the war in Europe, among others.

World Bank Group commitments during this period included a combined US$24.9 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association, US$19.5 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to promote private sector led sustainable development, and US$5.4 billion in guarantees by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

“The World Bank Group has provided strong support to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, reaching a record US$49.8 billion in total lending since the pandemic began,” said World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean Carlos Felipe Jaramillo.

“As we look beyond COVID, our region faces important challenges and we are committed to working together in critical areas such as addressing education losses, regaining fiscal sustainability, strengthening health, acting on the climate change agenda, and fostering climate-smart agriculture and the digital economy, to build a more sustainable and inclusive growth that benefits the people of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially the most vulnerable.”

The Washington-based financial institution said that it’s financing and expertise this past fiscal year focused on social protection, vaccine procurement and deployment, strengthening countries’ health systems, supporting fiscal sustainability, and a green recovery.

In the past fiscal year, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, committed US$8.7 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean, including mobilization ($3.7 billion) and short-term finance ($1.8 billion).

Since April 2020, when IFC kickstarted its COVID-19 response, IFC has committed $6 billion in liquidity support in the region – both COVID financing outside and through the Fast Track COVID Facility (FTCF) –, which has helped expand lending to MSMEs and women entrepreneurs so they can continue operations, worked with financial institutions to promote green finance, promoted sustainable infrastructure projects, and supported export-oriented agribusinesses in region.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, total World Bank Group financing has reached US$272 billion to help public and private sector clients fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.