By Aysu Bicer
ANKARA (AA) – The World Bank on Thursday announced that the bank is finalizing an additional package to tackle the wider economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We’re now finalizing an additional package that will focus on the broader economic consequences," World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement.
The bank aims to expand its measures in fighting the negative economic impact of coronavirus.
"Yesterday, I presented to our Board a program that could provide as much as $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months," he noted.
Last week, the World Bank approved a $14 billion package focusing on the immediate health and social consequences of the outbreak.
Malpass added that the crisis hit very close to home as the virus killed the former World Bank executive director Carole Brookins.
"I’m particularly concerned about poor, densely populated countries such as India, where weak health systems need massively scalable investments in human capital, supplies and infrastructure," he stressed.
Pointing at new COVID-related projects underway in 56 countries, he said the bank is encouraging multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches.
"In 24 countries, we’re restructuring existing projects in order to direct funds to the health emergency," he noted.
– 'International cooperation critical'
Malpass underscored that international cooperation is critical in these times to overcome the crisis.
"We’ve been working closely with the IMF and WHO, among others, to determine needs assessments of client countries."
Pointing the importance of addressing debt vulnerabilities, he called for “urgent relief process.”
"This crisis will hit hardest poor countries that have high levels of indebtedness. A broad and equitable debt relief process is urgently needed," he said.