Bretton Woods’s $159m Covid-19 aid

Saturday April 4 2020


Logo of World Bank at the International Monetary. Kenya’s funding from the World Bank is the first in a series of support the bank is providing to the country in response to the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19. PHOTO | REUTERS 

By The EastAfrican

Kenya and Rwanda have received a combined $159.4 million from both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund this week, to deal with the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on livelihoods and respective economies.

Last week the World bank board approved $50 million in immediate funding to support Kenya’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic under a new operation —the Kenya Covid-19 Emergency Response Project while the IMF board approved the disbursement of about $109.4 million to Rwanda under the Rapid Credit Facility. The funds will be used to meet Rwanda’s urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has ground Rwanda’s economy to a halt, creating an urgent balance of payments need. To contain and mitigate the spread of the virus, the government swiftly implemented measures that have affected all sectors of the economy,” said Tao Zhang, the IMF’s deputy managing director in a statement.

The World Bank Group Board approved $50 million for Kenya in emergency funding for medical diagnostic services, surveillance and response, capacity building, quarantine, isolation and treatment centres, medical waste disposal, risk communications and community engagement as well as for strengthening of the country’s capacity to provide safe blood services.

Of this amount, $10 million will go to the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service to be used to expand its capacity to provide safe blood and blood products.

“This new fast-track facility will assist Kenya in its efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by Covid-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Country Director for Kenya.


“Covid-19 threatens lives and livelihoods, and a rapid response is needed for food security, nutrition, and schooling.”

The project will be implemented in all 47 counties in the country, with the primary beneficiaries being infected persons, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel, medical and testing facilities, and national health agencies.

First off the blocks

Kenya’s funding from the World Bank is the first in a series of support the bank is providing to the country in response to the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19.

In addition, $10 million was triggered under the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project to fund the National Covid-19 Contingency Plan.

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the Covid-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.

The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

In March, the IMF made available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.