Colombia Will Receive US$700 Million from the World Bank to Strengthen its Response to the Covid-19 Emergency

New Delhi: The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a US$700 million loan to support Colombia’s response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The operation will help strengthen the health care system, provide income and nutritional support to the poorest, most vulnerable households, and maintain businesses’ liquidity and access to financing.

“We are working quickly to ensure that Colombia can access the resources it needs in these difficult times for everyone, especially the most vulnerable,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Director for Colombia and Venezuela. “With this operation, we hope to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the health care sector and the economy, and especially to protect the lives and wellbeing of Colombian families.”

The loan will support three pillars of the government program:

· Strengthening the public health care system to respond to the increased demand for services, including through budgetary space for funding essential health care services for Covid-19 patients and the rollout of biosafety protocols to facilitate and support the safe reactivation of key economic sectors.

· Expanding the social program database and increasing the number of households receiving monetary and school meal support to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the country’s poorest, most vulnerable families.

· Expanding guarantees, liquidity and credit lines for the country’s enterprises, including micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, to help businesses survive and protect the jobs of their workers.

With the approval of this loan, total new World Bank commitments to Colombia in the first 6 months of 2020 have reached US$1.25 billion, in addition to the US$250 million disbursement of previously committed contingent financing triggered by the national emergency due the COVID-19 crisis. Significant additional financing commitments are expected in the second half of the year, in support of resilient and inclusive housing, as well as resilient and sustainable infrastructure for the recovery.

The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit and the National Planning Department will be responsible for coordinating and implementing this Development Policy Loan (DPL). DPLs are financial instruments that provide rapid budget support to countries needing external financing. The World Bank Group is actively working to help countries respond to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.