Business View Caribbean | Volume 8, Issue 9

15 BUSINESS VIEW CARIBBEAN VOLUME 8, ISSUE 9 I n response to COVID-19 severely damaging the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean countries, the World Bank Group deployed a record $29.1 billion to that region from the beginning of the crisis (April 1, 2020) through fiscal year 2021 (ending June 30, 2021) to fight the pandemic’s health, economic, and social impacts, as well as support the region respond to challenges such as hurricanes and migration. This is the largest crisis response of any such period in the Bank Group’s history. Bank Group commitments and mobilizations during this period included a combined $14.5 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) typically referred to as the World Bank, $10.8 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to promote private sector led sustainable development, and $3.8 billion in guarantees by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). “Latin America and the Caribbean was the region hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 20% of global cases and a third of global deaths. The high infection rates and sharply contracting growth have had devastating social and economic impacts,” said World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Carlos Felipe Jaramillo. “Since the pandemic began, we have moved quickly to provide substantial new funding to help countries tackle the crisis and provide relief to the most vulnerable.” The World Bank’s financing and expertise this fiscal year focused on social protection, health emergencies, tests, vaccines and strengthening countries’ health systems as well as record deployment of short-term finance during the first months of the pandemic to help the private WORLD BANK GROUP MOBILIZES OVER $29 BILLION TO SUPPORT L AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC sector stay afloat. IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, committed $10.8 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean, including mobilization ($5 billion) and short-term finance ($2 billion), driven by increased demand for fast-track financing for the manufacturing, agribusiness and services sectors, continued support for the financial industry and successful engagements to establish Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the region. Since April 2020, when IFC kickstarted its COVID-19 response, IFC has committed close to $3.2 billion in liquidity support in the region, which has helped expand lending to MSMEs so they can continue operations, worked with IFC has been stepping up to offer innovative solutions to support sectors severely affected by the pandemic OPENING L INES