BENIN – The World Bank has approved additional financing of US$10.4 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to support Benin’s efforts to fight COVID-19 (coronavirus) and help the country respond to public health emergencies. 

These funds bring the total sum allocated by the World Bank for Benin’s emergency measures to some US$40 million. The Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project (REDISSE) has earmarked US$20 million, while US$10 million is being funded by the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) of the Benin Early Years Nutrition and Child Development Project (EYNCDP). 

This support will build Benin’s COVID-19 response capacities, with the added benefit of improving the country’s resilience to health emergencies.

The new Benin COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project will strengthen the disease surveillance system, scale up laboratory equipment, and build case detection and confirmation capacities.  

It provides for acute respiratory infections treatment centers to be built and fitted with cutting-edge equipment, and for 10 existing health facilities to be upgraded to COVID-19 treatment management centers. It will also build treatment center staff and community communication capacities and will support the implementation of government social distancing measures. 

“This support will build Benin’s COVID-19 response capacities, with the added benefit of improving the country’s resilience to health emergencies,” said Atou Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Benin. “We are pleased to see that the Beninese authorities have already received much of the medical equipment and materials ordered.” 

The World Bank has already supported the government in Benin with such measures as equipping the isolation and treatment center, training health workers and rapid response teams, and purchasing masks, laboratory tests, ventilators, thermal cameras, and emergency medical equipment and materials. 

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response.  

The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. 

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance.  

Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged US$21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.