SWITZERLAND, APRIL 27 – Nigeria is among countries labelled as ‘poorest in the world’ to benefit in a fresh $195.84 Million allocation from the World Bank as they battle against COVID-19
“The Steering Body of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) announced today the allocation of US$195.84 million to 64 of the world’s poorest countries with reported cases of COVID-19. Special attention will be given to areas with the most vulnerable populations, especially in fragile and conflict-affected countries,” the World Bank announced in a press release sent to Today’s Echo on Monday.
According to the World Bank, the funds will provide additional support to these countries in their COVID-19 response, including essential and critical lifesaving medical equipment, personal protective equipment, therapeutics and medicine, and support for health workers on the frontlines of the crisis.
The PEF, a financing mechanism housed at the World Bank – is designed to provide an additional source of financing to help the world’s poorest countries respond to cross-border, large-scale outbreaks. The PEF complements the much larger role that IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, and other international organizations and donors play in financing outbreak response. The PEF’s design is unique in that payments can go directly to governments and pre-approved frontline responder organizations (such as WHO & UNICEF) and it can do so through either its cash window — or once triggered through its insurance window.
According to the IDA website, some countries, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, are IDA-eligible based on per capita income levels.
“This funding is in addition to the World Bank Group’s commitment of up to US$160 billion to fight COVID-19,” said Annette Dixon, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank. “PEF funding will supplement the critical emergency support operations underway to help save lives, detect, prevent and respond to coronavirus in poor countries.”
Specific funding allocations will be determined by population size and reported cases, with a minimum of US$1 million and maximum of US$15 million going to each country, and a heavier weight given to countries classified as fragile or conflict-affected.
According to the World Bank, these countries face greater challenges with their health systems and are home to the most vulnerable people.
Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, it was already estimated that up to two thirds of the world’s extreme poor would live in fragile and conflict affected areas by 2030.