World Bank drives Covid-19 recovery in East Asia, Pacific with USD 1.9 billion commitment and vaccination success

NEW DELHI: Countries in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) were among the first and hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. In response, the World Bank swiftly executed a comprehensive strategy, channelling funds into emergency operations, training medical staff, and reinforcing national public health systems.
This approach included reallocating existing project resources, triggering emergency components, and activating Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Options (CAT DDOs) tailored to each country’s unique context and epidemic status.
The World Bank committed USD 1.9 billion across 18 Covid-19 health response projects in the EAP region from April 2020 to October 2022.
Notably, the Philippines received 33 million vaccine doses (13 per cent of the total supply), while Mongolia procured vaccines to inoculate up to 66 per cent of its population with two doses.
With World Bank support, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic achieved a 76 per cent full vaccination rate, and 94 per cent of Covid-19 testing samples were reported within 48 hours of testing.
The EAP region faced significant disruptions, with the World Bank estimating that the Covid-19 shock could push an additional 38 million people into poverty in 2020.
The impact on sales, employment, and productivity growth, particularly affecting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), necessitated urgent intervention.
The World Bank’s response to EAP since April 2020 involved deploying over USD 157 billion globally. In the EAP region, emergency operations through the Covid-19 Fast-Track Facility addressed economic, social, and poverty impacts.
The World Bank also repurposed existing projects, utilizing Contingent Emergency Response Components (CERCs) and activating Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Options (CAT DDOs).
Countries in EAP witnessed positive outcomes from the World Bank’s initiatives. The bank committed USD 1.93 billion across 18 Covid-19 health response projects, and an additional USD 40.5 million was reallocated through CERCs and CAT DDOs.
Noteworthy successes include Indonesia’s treatment of 6 million Covid-19 cases and testing 60 million suspected cases, and the Philippines receiving 33 million vaccine doses.
Collaborating with various partners such as the Covax initiative, other multilateral development banks, and international agencies, the World Bank formed a broad coalition for a multi-faceted response.
Partnerships with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), and the World Health Organization (WHO) facilitated project preparation and vaccine financing.
The EAP Economic Update in April 2023 indicates economic recovery in major EAP economies, with GDP growth and increased per capita income.
The World Bank’s Evolution Roadmap prioritizes urgent action to address poverty, economic distress, and global challenges like climate change and pandemics, recognizing the cross-border nature of these issues.

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