World Bank Pledges $80 Million to Support Georgia’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
The World Bank will provide a $80 million financial support package to Georgia to help the Government’s efforts to mitigate and address the health and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is provided under the World Bank’s Fast Track Covid19 Facility (FTCF). The World Bank is also collaborating with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide an additional $100 million under a joint co-finance arrangement.
The objective is to finance measures that help prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide immediate social protection support to the most vulnerable. It is expected to benefit the population at large, and in particular, the infected people and at-risk populations such as the elderly and people with chronic conditions, as well as medical and emergency personnel. Health-related emergency COVID-19 response measures include case detection and confirmation, increased testing, as well as health system strengthening for case management.
In addition, the project will provide income support to the poor and vulnerable households by scaling-up of the Targeted Social Assistance program and providing temporary cash transfers to workers who lost jobs due to the pandemic.
“Through our rapid support we are helping save lives and protect the livelihoods of those impacted by the pandemic during this challenging time," said Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “We estimate that the total WBG financing package for Georgia COVID-19 response will be approximately $200 milion in new financing, in addition to the approximately $300 million funds in our pipeline for 2020-2021 for projects in support of broader development needs, such as digital connectivity and infrastructure”.
“I would especially like to note that our partners have been actively involved in the negotiations with the Government of Georgia since the very first days of the pandemic. Once again, I would like to thank them for that tremendous support,”- said Ivane Matchavariani, Minister of Finance of Georgia. “Furthermore, I would like to emphasize the role of the World Bank in the preparation of this program, as well as in the development of our country in general”.
This project is a part of World Bank’s broader support for the people of Georgia, and it is the first in the series of three lending operations to be rolled-out over the coming three months. The second upcoming operation will come in the form of additional financing to the existing Economic Management and Competitiveness Development Policy Operation (approved by World Bank's Board of Executive Directors on March 26, 2020), aiming to help the government cover the unanticipated financing gap and ensure Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms in areas critical for inclusive economic growth. The third is the upcoming Relief and Recovery for MSMEs and Jobs project, which intends to support the jobs agenda as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have been affected by the pandemic.