Thursday, July 23,
2020 / 04:43 PM / by *Alex van Trotsenburg of World Bank / Header
Image Credit: World Bank
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a drastic human toll, with close to 15 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 600,000 deaths around the world by mid July.
As the geography of the outbreak continues to shift, new hot spots are emerging in developing countries - including in Latin America and South Asia - as well as worrying trends in parts of Africa. Second-wave outbreaks are also appearing in areas that had seen progress.
Millions more people are likely to fall into extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19, and the existing poor will experience even deeper deprivation. Well over a billion jobs are under threat worldwide, deepening the need for better safety nets for most informal workers or for many vulnerable groups. As developing countries race to halt the health emergency, they must seek ways to contain the economic and social damage as well as work urgently to get their development agendas back on track.
On all these fronts, the World Bank Group is committed to doing all we can to help. We recognize that the massive scale of the COVID-19 pandemic demands a truly exceptional response. Already we are working with over 100 low- and middle-income countries to bolster their health systems and broad-scale pandemic response as well as lay the groundwork for recovery.
This effort involves all the Bank Group's financing arms, with about 2/3 of this financing from the public sector arm - IBRD/IDA - and the rest from the private sector arm, IFC and MIGA.
As I outlined in a recent blog, there are four priorities for the broad, fast action that the World Bank Group has underway: saving lives threatened by the pandemic; protecting the poor and vulnerable; helping save jobs and businesses; and working to build a more resilient recovery. These priorities are outlined in our operational approach to the COVID-19 crisis, entitled Saving Lives, Scaling-up Impact and Getting Back on Track. I encourage everyone to explore this paper in depth, and I'd like to highlight a few key points here.
The ambition of our crisis response is to help client countries assist at least one billion people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and to restore momentum on our Twin Goals - ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
This is best captured by the "building back better" concept, which means putting in place the kind of interventions that meet the short-term needs but also maintain a line of sight on longer term development challenges.
In tackling this crisis, international cooperation assumes a new level of importance. The financing demands are truly staggering and only through close cooperation can we meet this challenge. We will need to work closely between the public and private sectors, particularly helping the private sector get back on its feet and in this way, facilitate the preservation and creation of new jobs. Bearing in mind the Bank Group's comparative advantage, that can speed progress in fighting the pandemic and transform crisis into opportunity.
About the Author
*Axel van Trotsenburg is the World Bank Managing Director of Operations. In this role, which he assumed on October 1, 2019, Mr van Trotsenburg oversees the Bank's operational program and ensures that the Bank's delivery model continues to meet the needs of client countries. He also builds support and mobilizes financial resources across the international community for efforts to assist low and middle-income countries.
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