WORLD Bank Group President, David Malpass has reacted to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world describing the situation as the most difficult times for all.
“These are difficult times for all, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable,”Malpass said in his remarks from the G20 Finance Ministers conference call on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the World Bank Group, our first goal is to provide prompt support during the crisis, based on a country’s needs. It’s also vital to shorten the time to recovery and create confidence that the recovery can be strong.”
The World Bank Group president noted that the crisis would hit the poorest and most vulnerable countries hardly.
“I need to raise a related concern. This crisis will likely hit hardest against the poorest and most vulnerable countries, those roughly 75 poorest countries drawing on IDA,” he said.
“Many were already in a difficult debt situation, leaving no space for an appropriate health and economic response.”
He said the World Bank was “ready to frontload IDA19 with up to $35 billion and identify additional resources. However, we cannot have IDA resources go to pay creditors.”
“Today I want to make a call to action to the G20. I urge all official bilateral creditors of the poorest countries to act with immediate effect to help IDA countries through debt relief, allowing the countries to concentrate their resources on fighting the pandemic.”
This, Malpass, explained would require comprehensive and fair debt restructuring that includes NPV reductions sufficient for restoring debt sustainability.
He called on the G20 Leaders to allow the poorest countries to suspend all repayments of official bilateral credit until the World Bank and the IMF have made a full assessment of their reconstruction and financing needs.
“The WBG and the IMF are ready to work quickly with official bilateral creditors and with other international organizations as partners to finalize a process by the Spring Meetings of our organizations in April.”
The World Bank predicted that beyond the severe health impact from the pandemic, there would be a major recession of the global economy.
The Bank said it was also preparing projects in 49 countries in a new fast-track facility, with decisions expected this week on as many as 16 country programs.