The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund today convened African leaders, bilateral partners, and multilateral institutions to spur faster action on COVID-19 response in African countries. H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Director General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Africa Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and officials of individual countries outlined their policy plans for effective use of resources, multilateral organizations including the United Nations pledged their continued support, and bilateral partners reemphasized their commitment to a debt standstill beginning May 1, 2020. This comes in response to calls from the World Bank Group President Malpass, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Georgieva, and other partners for creditors to suspend debt repayments in order to provide much-needed support to the poorest countries.
Over the past three months, the World Bank Group has mounted the fastest crisis response in its history. We are now financing emergency operations in over 100 countries – home to 70% of the global population. Join David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group as he discusses the path ahead for developing countries. What will a robust and resilient recovery look like? How can we promote economic growth, support the poorest, and sustain businesses and jobs?
COVID-19 (coronavirus) has arrived in Sub-Saharan Africa, and governments have stepped up measures to prevent the spread of this pandemic. Over the past weeks, travelers have been screened with thermal cameras and health agents have been deployed to increase surveillance, and countries have acted swiftly to cut down flights, close schools and borders, and limit public gatherings. For many African countries that learned difficult lessons from the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, including the Democratic Republic of Congo which now sees an end in sight in the fight against Ebola, these are familiar scenes.
Amidst uncertainty surrounding the outlook for COVID-19 fatalities and infections, developing and deploying a vaccine is the topmost global priority. Health and logistics systems under stress will be challenged for the global distribution of a new vaccine, when and if it becomes available. If the protocols for handling such a vaccine resemble those for existing ones, it will need to be supported by strong and sustainable cold chains. This poses a daunting development challenge.