South Africa will receive $750 million in funding support from the World Bank to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington-based international organisation said. 

The low-interest loan was approved on Friday by the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors and will complement the relief support extended by other lenders, according to a statement. 

“This loan will support the government of South Africa’s efforts to accelerate its COVID-19 response aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable from the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and supporting a resilient and sustainable economic recovery,” the World Bank said. 

Since the start of the outbreak, more than $157 billion in funds have been deployed by the World Bank to help fight the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19.  

The financial relief, used to strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect low-income individuals and jobs in more than 100 countries worldwide, has been the fastest and largest form of crisis response in World Bank’s history. 

The new funding for South Africa supports the implementation of the country’s Economic Reconstruction Recovery Plan and complements the financing from the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and the New Development Bank. 

“The World Bank budget support is coming at a critical time for us and will contribute towards addressing the financing gap stemming from additional spending in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Dondo Mogajane, Director General of National Treasury of South Africa. 

“It will assist in addressing the immediate challenge of financing critical health and social safety net programs while also continuing to develop our economic reform agenda to build back better.” 

South Africa is the second-largest economy in Africa. Its recovery and successful economic development will provide a recovery boost to the whole region, the World Bank said. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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