Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty: Turning the corner on the pandemic in 2021?

More than a year into the pandemic, there is still much we don’t know concerning its impact on global poverty. Though high-frequency phone surveys have helped gain a broad understanding of the economic consequences of the pandemic, the collection of detailed, household surveys needed to understand its impact on poverty has largely been put on hold. While awaiting household surveys, we continue our previous approach of trying to understand the poverty consequences of the pandemic by extrapolating the income and consumption from past household surveys using national accounts growth forecasts. Simple as it is, this method generally outperforms more complicated methods in nowcasting poverty.

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New CAO Policy Enhances IFC and MIGA Environmental and Social Accountability

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2021 – The Boards of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) have approved a new policy for the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), the independent accountability mechanism of IFC and MIGA. The Independent Accountability Mechanism (CAO) Policy, which becomes effective today, improves effectiveness of the complaints process in projects supported by IFC and MIGA, with an increased focus on outcomes for communities and IFC/MIGA clients, and responds to recommendations from an independent external review.

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Primary health care needs to be fit for the post COVID world – how do we do that?

As a physician, I know firsthand the important role that primary health care plays in the health of individuals, families, and communities. When it works well, it is the foundation of a good life and a thriving national health care system.  When it is weak, people suffer.

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Walking the Talk: Reimagining primary health care after COVID-19

Strong primary health care (PHC) saves lives and money and makes health systems work

better for all people. The current COVID-19

crisis exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses and inflicted devastating health and economic costs. However, it also created a once-in-a-generation chance for transformational health-system change.

COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing distortions and exposed underlying system weaknesses. It has also highlighted the important role PHC must play during a health emergency through measures such as surveillance, testing and contact tracing, and in keeping hospitals from overfl owing with critically ill patients. Strong PHC systems are also key to the efficient delivery of crucial health services, including vaccinations. 

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World Bank Financing for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Exceeds $4 Billion for 50 Countries

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2021 – The World Bank announced today that it is providing over $4 billion for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for 51 developing countries, half of which are in Africa. More than half of the financing comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, and is on grant or highly concessional terms. This financing is part of the Bank’s commitment to help low- and middle-income countries acquire and distribute vaccines and strengthen their health systems.

The World Bank reiterated its call to governments, pharmaceutical companies, and organizations involved in vaccine procurement and delivery to help increase transparency and build greater public information regarding vaccine contracts, options and agreements; vaccine financing and delivery agreements; and doses delivered and future delivery plans. It asked those countries anticipating excess vaccine supplies in the coming months to release their surplus doses and options as soon as possible, in a transparent manner, to developing countries with adequate distribution plans in place.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has approved more than $150 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic. Since April 2020, the Bank has scaled up its financing by over 50 percent, helping more than 100 countries meet emergency health needs, strengthen pandemic preparedness, while also supporting countries as they protect the poor and jobs, and jump starting a climate-friendly recovery.

The World Bank is helping developing countries in every region of the world with vaccine purchase and rollout,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director of Operations. “Significant challenges still remain regarding vaccine deployment and hesitancy. We are taking action on all fronts to tackle these challenges, working in solidarity with international and regional partners to expedite doses to as many people as possible and to enhance disease surveillance, preparedness, and response.”

Full details of World Bank vaccine operations are posted on our vaccine operations portal, with regular updates. The $4 billion is supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, Yemen, and Zambia.

The Bank’s vaccine finance package is designed to be flexible. It can be used by countries to acquire doses through COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) or other sources. It also finances vaccine deployment and health system strengthening, such as vaccine cold-chains, training health workers, data and information systems, and communications and outreach campaigns to key stakeholders which are crucial to ensure vaccination acceptance. The Bank has aligned its eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccines with the revised eligibility criteria of COVAX and other multilateral partners.

The World Bank is partnering with the African Union and the World Bank-supported Africa Center for Disease Control to support AVATT initiative with resources to allow countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa. The Bank is also convening a task force with the IMF, WHO, WTO, and other partners to track, coordinate, and advance delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

The Bank continues to work with governments and partners (UNICEF, the Global Fund, WHO, and GAVI) to assess the readiness of over 140 developing countries to deploy vaccines. Countries have made good progress since the publication of the effort’s first report. Latest findings show that 95 percent of countries have developed national vaccination plans, 79 percent have safety measures in place, and 82 percent have prioritizations of populations to receive the vaccine. However, only 59 percent have developed plans to train the large number of vaccinators needed and less than half have a plan in place to generate public confidence, trust, and demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

 

PRESS RELEASE NO: 2021/186/HNP

Economic Integration in West Africa Starts with Road Corridors

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • African countries depend on major road corridors, key drivers of economic activity.
  • Extensive efforts have been made in recent years to remove trade barriers and foster regional integration, but there is still some way to go.
  • The World Bank has stepped up its support for regional integration, which currently accounts for 13% of its Africa portfolio.

Outlook for precious metals remains bright, but uncertainty looms

Precious metal prices trended higher during the second quarter of 2021 but retraced markedly in mid-June following the US Federal Reserve’s stance toward a faster tightening of monetary policy. More broadly, strengthening demand and ongoing inflation concerns boosted gold prices while silver and platinum prices were further supported by the ongoing recovery in industrial activity and some supply disruptions. Precious metal prices are anticipated to stay high in 2021 before retreating in 2022.

Precious metal prices

Precious Metals Prices

Gold prices surpassed US$1,900 per ounce in early June—the highest since January 2021—driven by jewelry demand in China, investment inflows, and lower real interest rates.  Chinese holiday- and wedding-related jewelry purchases provided support for gold prices, but this was offset by muted Indian demand due to surging COVID-19 infections. Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) registered inflows in May, after three consecutive months of outflows. U.S. real interest rates also fell in May as monetary policy remained accommodative and inflation expectations increased. Accommodative monetary policy keeps the opportunity cost of holding gold low, while high inflation expectations increase the appeal of gold as an inflation hedge. Gold price weakened in mid-June, after the US Federal Reserve signaled that it would raise interest rates and end its bond purchases sooner than expected.

Gold prices and interest rates

gold prices and interest rates

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Walking the Talk: Reimagining Primary Health Care After COVID-19

Strong primary health care saves lives and money and makes health systems more resilient and work better for all people. The current COVID-19 crisis exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses and inflicted devastating health and economic costs. However, it also created a once-in-a-generation chance for transformational health-system change.

June 29th, 2021 – 12:30PM ET

LINK

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COVID-19 casts different shadows over the lives of men and women

In the spring and summer of 2020, large parts of the world were hunkering down as governments locked covid19_blogleaderdown societies and economies. Millions of families were confined to their homes. Across the globe, people were losing their lives and livelihoods to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, we only had a hunch about how the pandemic would play out differently for different people. We asked ourselves: How is COVID-19 going to affect gender equality across the world? Would the pandemic take a distinctly different toll on men and women? 

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World Bank and African Union Team Up to Support Rapid Vaccination for Up to 400 million People in Africa

PRESS RELEASE JUNE 21, 2021

Working with countries and partners across Africa to quickly expand equitable access to vaccines

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2021— The African Finance Ministers and the World Bank Group met today to fast track vaccine acquisition on the continent and avoid a third wave. In a boost to the African Union’s target to vaccinate 60% of the continent’s population by 2022, the World Bank and the AU announced that they are partnering to support the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative with resources to allow countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa. This extraordinary regional effort complements COVAX and comes at a time of rising COVID-19 cases in the region. World Bank financing is available to support the purchase and deployment of doses secured by AVATT.

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