FILE - Minister of International Cooperation Rania al-Mashat and President of the World Bank Group David Malpass in a meeting held in Washington in February 2020 - Press Photo
CAIRO - 17 May 2020: The Board of Directors of the World Bank Group (WBG) approved LE50 million as an emergency response under the World Bank Groups new Fast Track COVID-19 Facility worth $6 billion a global effort to help strengthen the COVID-19 response and expedite economic recovery.
The Facility includes direct support to WBs member states to enable them to overcome the health and economic implications of the pandemic, Egypt qualified to receive funds worth $50 million, which is the maximum available for Egypt under the Facility based on the criteria of population size; as states with a population up to 20 million are qualified to receive $20 million. States with a population up to 50 million are qualified to receive $35 million; and those of a population up to 100 million are qualified to receive up to $50 million; states with a population up to 250 million are qualified to receive $100 million; states with a population up to 1 billion are qualified to receive $250 million; and those with populations exceeding 1 billion are entitled to receive $350 million.
The new Project aims to strengthen the prevention, detection and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt, The project will focus on the immediate and critical areas of support identified by the Government of Egypt's National COVID-19 response plan.
The project funds will support (1) procuring and distributing medical equipment and supplies necessary for the COVID-19 response; (2) health worker training; (3) operations of specifically designated quarantine, isolation and treatment centers; (4) mobilization of rapid response teams in contact tracing of COVID-19 cases; (5) development of contextualized messaging platforms and tools to improve public awareness of COVID prevention; and (6) innovative Monitoring and Evaluation of social distancing strategies including community mobilization.
"We acknowledge the efforts undertaken by the World Bank Group at these unprecedented times. This project supports the preparedness efforts and governance of Egypt's healthcare system. Increased coordinated action to expedite healthcare spending and pave the way for an inclusive post-COVID economic recovery is a national priority," Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said.
"The World Bank is quickly mobilizing to help Egypt strengthen its pandemic response and health care systems. This phase of our support aims to protect the poorest and most vulnerable households and help the country implement emergency health operations and strengthen economic resilience," Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, said.
MoIC continues to discuss future cooperation and support opportunities to mitigate the short term crisis implications on the poor and the most vulnerable, and to support the recovery.
The Cabinet recently approved to carry out the necessary measures to obtain WB financing to support the universal health insurance worth $400 million. The project aims to increase coverage of the universal health insurance system, to pay subscriptions for those who are unable to do so and to improve infrastructure in governorates in which the new system will be introduced, besides providing institutional support for the new system.
Discussions are also underway to support social security networks in Egypt during the upcoming period to protect the most affected families by the pandemic.
It is worth noting that on March 20, 2020, WB vowed an additional fund to Egypt worth $500 million to support current efforts to facilitate access to affordable housing units for low income households in Egypt, capacity building of the social housing fund, and supporting financial leasing to design policies and coordinate programs in the social housing sector.