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World Bank to greenlight $4 billion in vaccine financing for 50 countries in 2021

THE World Bank Group disclosed that it will be approving $4 billion worth of support for vaccine financing in 50 countries this year.

In a pre-recorded event ahead of the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings 2021, World Bank Group President David Malpass said he has already approved 10 vaccine financing operations.

Malpass said the bank is slated to approve 10 more country-specific financing efforts in April and another 30 in May and June this year.

“Commitments rose 65 percent in 2020 from 2019. On vaccines, working closely with Gavi, WHO [World Health Organization], and Unicef [United Nations Children’s Fund], we’ve conducted over 100 capacity assessments, many even more before vaccines were available,” Malpass said.

Apart from vaccines, Malpass said the Washington-based multilateral development bank (MDB) is also finalizing its new climate change action plan to greatly boost its climate financing.

Efforts to further vaccine financing and invest in green growth are crucial in recovering from the pandemic. Malpass said the bank is working toward achieving GRID: green, resilient, and inclusive development.

“We want to achieve as much impact as possible with the increased financing. Our plan identifies key priorities for action, with a focus on both adaptation and mitigation. It also includes a strong focus on a just transition from coal, and we’re working toward aligning our financial flows with the objectives of the Paris agreement,” Malpass said.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said green investments will help boost recovery efforts.

Over a period of 15 years, Georgieva said a green investment push in a modest amount can generate 0.7-percent boost to growth and create many green jobs.

Apart from monitoring the global economy and pushing for green growth, Georgieva said the IMF is also stepping its efforts to make financing available to all countries needing it.

Georgieva said the IMF is providing 13 times more lending to low-income countries this year. The financing is not only going toward efforts to fight Covid-19 but also addressing inequality in these countries and specific social needs such as women empowerment.

She said, however, that it would be difficult to ignore debt sustainability and IMF is finding ways to provide more concessional funding and boost reserves, particularly for countries without market access.

“We are focusing on giving everyone a fair shot. A fair shot in the arm everywhere so we can bring the pandemic to a durable end to underpin sustainable recovery. But also a fair shot to a chance for a better life for vulnerable people and for vulnerable countries,” Georgieva said.

On Wednesday, the IMF forecast strong recovery for the Philippines for this year and sustained growth through 2022.

In its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO), the global monetary authority said the Philippines is likely to grow by 6.9 percent for this year, up from the contraction of 9.5 percent in 2020.

The new forecast is an upward revision from the 6.6-percent IMF forecast for the Philippines’s 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

For next year, the IMF kept its 6.5-percent projection for the country’s growth.

Based on the latest WEO projections, the IMF sees the Philippines leading the growth among the five major economies in Southeast Asia (Asean-5).

Following the Philippines’ 6.9-percent projection is Vietnam and Malaysia, both projected to grow at 6.5 percent this year. This is followed by the IMF’s expected growth for Indonesia at 4.3 -percent growth and then Thailand’s 2.6-percent growth.

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