SEATTLE, Washington — Naturally, the suffering caused by COVID-19 in any country, despite its development status, is immeasurable. However, developing countries are struggling to cope with COVID-19 exponentially more than developed nations due to pre-existing complications. For example, the U.N. projects Africa will have a total of 300,000 deaths by the end of the year, over twice as high as the global total of 143,744 as of May 2020. The World Bank is aiding developing countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help economies regain footing and survive the global health crisis.
The World Bank Aids Developing Countries
The situation is bleak, but there is no shortage of ways that the world is helping itself heal. The World Bank, for instance, is a strong advocate for providing financial support to countries with weak economies. The World Bank is aiding developing countries amid the coronavirus pandemic by giving $160 billion in financing over the next 15 months to help nations, specifically with the health and economic tribulations caused by the pandemic. The aid from the World Bank is distributed globally and includes countries like Argentina, Ecuador, Egypt and Afganistan, among others.
Since February 2020, the World Bank has been implementing a combination of short and long-term aid for developing countries:
- Limiting Local Exposure – This funding includes increased and improved laboratory equipment (gloves, masks, and portable ventilators), surveillance systems and additional training for first responders.
- Clinical Facilities –Funding will go toward building and/or expanding upon intensive care facilities including ones specifically meant for quarantine.
- Vaccines – Increased funding will go toward additional medical professionals to research and develop a vaccine to combat the coronavirus.
While these changes will not be immediate as the 15-month distribution of the money implies, the World Bank has already begun funding developing countries. Senegal and Ghana received $20 million and $35 million respectively for surveillance systems and laboratories.
Addressing the Critics
From as far back as the 1970s, critics like P.T Bauers have criticized foreign aid and likened it to an act of faith. In more recent years, critics cite the original list of “Least Developed Countries” by the U.N. in 1971 and how of the current 48 countries, 21 have been on the list since its conception.
Yet, it is important to note that to effectively support impoverished countries long-term solutions need to be implemented to create self-sustaining environments.
CARE, for example, is an NGO that teaches the importance of nutrition and health workers in decreasing child mortality rates, which has decreased by 50% over the past 70 years. Short-term methods are meant to be temporary solutions to an immediate problem.
During the pandemic, a mixture of these solutions is necessary to ensure that people can live through the novel coronavirus and that their countries can survive economically in the long run. These methods are very apparent in how the World Bank is helping impoverished nations. In Tunisia, for example, $100 million was relocated to sponsor small businesses and social benefits. Now, Tunisia’s citizens can be more assured in their fiscal futures once the pandemic ends.
Creating a Stronger, Equal Future
As the former Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, put it, “We need to stop viewing [charity] as aid. It’s an investment.” For example, Libya has an annual GDP growth rate of 17.8%. Foreign countries are potential markets for American businesses and its future stability can boost the U.S. economy.
The World Bank aids developing countries, giving nations the opportunity to develop financial security and lowering the number of people living under the global poverty line. Right now, as important as it is for people to be worried about their own countries, working to help other nations as well will create a stronger, equal future across the globe.
– Bryce Thompson