World Bank puts aside $2.2b for poorest countries hit by crises

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors December 8, 2011 approved a new mechanism that will allow the world’s poorest countries to expedite access to funding following a crisis.

The Washington-based lender says “countries will be able to access a portion of undisbursed balances in their investment project portfolios, up to a total of $2.2 billion.”

According to the World Bank, the Immediate Response Mechanism complements longer-term emergency response tools available to members of the International Development Association (IDA) offering countries financial support within weeks rather than months of an emergency.

“In the case of crises, notably natural disasters and economic shocks, IDA would provide immediate financing in support of recovery efforts, such as the activation or scaling up of safety nets to mitigate the impact on vulnerable groups, repair or restoration of basic physical assets, protection of critical development spending such as on health and education, and creation of programs to jump-start economic activity” said the Bank in a statement.

Commenting on the programme, Joachim von Amsberg, the World Bank’s Vice President of Operations Policy and Country Services said “In implementing this program, the Bank will work closely with interested countries to improve their emergency preparedness and arrangements for disaster response. Better planning, in advance of any crisis or emergency, speeds recovery and reduces the impact on vulnerable people.”

By Ekow Quandzie

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