The World Bank is prepared to contribute up to $30 billion to help address the worldwide food shortages that have been made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has already distributed nearly $10 billion in financial relief, as per a senior bank official on Thursday.
The bank’s managing director of operations, Axel van Trotsenburg, stated in an interview with Reuters while visiting the Bosnian city of Sarajevo that there is “an absolute need for international solidarity with Ukraine.” He added that solidarity needs to be maintained throughout the long run as well as the short term.
Van Trotsenburg stated that the World Bank started assisting Ukraine shortly after the Russian invasion on February 24 and has so far distributed nearly $10 billion of the $13 billion in help it had committed to Kyiv.
He said that the bank has developed a platform to permit co-funding and parallel financing, as well as to combine its direct backing with additional support from nations like the United Governments, Britain, and Japan, as well as independent guarantees from European states. Additionally, a donor trust fund had been established.
While several nations have contributed through the trust fund, according to him, the United States has contributed the most money, on average at least $1.5 billion out of the almost $5 billion in external finance required every month.
“We set up (a) system through which we could help the continuation of the state functions of Ukraine – paying teacher salaries, pensions, helping the health system. That has worked very well and some of our partner countries wanted to use that mechanism because we can then also trace money,” van Trotsenburg said, as reported by Reuters.
He said that the bank was also helping Ukrainians affected by the conflict at home and abroad, as well as nearby nations and developing nations outside of Europe who were experiencing difficulties with Ukrainian grain exports as a result of the conflict.
This is one of the factors for the World Bank’s announcement that it is prepared to offer funding of up to $30 billion to address food insecurity over the course of the upcoming 12 months.
According to a report issued on Friday by the World Bank, European Commission, and the Ukrainian government, the invasion by Russia had so far directly cost the nation over $97 billion, but reconstruction could end up costing as much as $350 billion.
(with inputs from agencies)