Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has worked hard to help countries fight the pandemic’s health, economic, and social impacts. From April 2020 through the end of fiscal 2021, the Bank Group committed over $157 billion — the largest crisis response in any such period of our history. We have helped countries address the health emergency, procure billions of dollars of medical supplies, deploy COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen health systems and pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, create jobs, promote growth, and expand social protection.

Despite this unprecedented global effort, the pandemic has reversed gains in global poverty reduction for the first time in a generation, pushing nearly 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. I remain deeply concerned about fragile states, which have been particularly hard-hit by unsustainable debt burdens, climate change, conflict, and weak governance. And though I am hopeful for the global economy to rebound, many of the world’s poorest countries are being left behind, with inequality widening both within and between countries. We are committed to working with our partners to find solutions to these urgent challenges — including by promoting transparency, human rights, and a rule of law that extends accountability to all institutions. We are working to save lives, protect the poor and vulnerable, support business growth and job creation, and rebuild in better ways toward a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.

Ensuring safe, fair, and widespread immunization will be key to curb the pandemic and advance recovery: we are supporting countries’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, including through COVAX and directly from manufacturers. The World Bank has expanded its financing available for COVID-19 vaccines to $20 billion over two years — in fiscal 2021 alone, we committed $4.4 billion for 53 countries. Working with WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF, we developed mechanisms for safe distribution in 140 low- and middle-income countries. We are partnering with the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control to support the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) in order to help countries purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa. And we are working with the IMF, WHO, WTO, and other partners to track, coordinate, and advance delivery of vaccines to developing countries.

IFC is doing vital work to build resilient health systems and expand the manufacturing and supply chains for COVID-19 vaccines. Through its Global Health Platform, IFC committed $1.2 billion to support vaccine manufacturing capacity, including in Africa, and the production of essential services and medical equipment, including test kits and personal protective equipment. IFC-led investments include the mobilization of a €600 million financing package to boost COVID-19 vaccine production in South Africa, support to vaccine manufacturers in Asia, and investments in medical equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

To address many countries’ risk of debt distress, we’ve played a key role in the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative, alongside the IMF. The effort has helped more than 40 countries to suspend debt service payments in excess of $5 billion, freeing up fiscal space as countries combat the crisis. While I am pleased the initiative has been extended to the end of 2021, more needs to be done, particularly to reduce the stock of debt in the poorest countries. With the IMF, we are helping implement the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments, which aims to reduce countries’ debt burdens for the long term.

As the world emerges from the pandemic, climate change will remain a central challenge. The World Bank Group is the largest multilateral provider of climate finance for developing countries. Over the past five years, we have delivered over $83 billion — in fiscal 2021 alone, our climate finance totaled over $26 billion. Our new Climate Change Action Plan, launched in June, seeks to integrate climate throughout development efforts, with a focus on greenhouse gas reduction and successful adaptation. The plan commits us to 35 percent of Bank Group financing having climate co-benefits over the next five years; 50 percent of IBRD and IDA climate financing will support adaptation and resilience. We will align all World Bank financing with the goals of the Paris Agreement starting on July 1, 2023. For IFC and MIGA, 85 percent of Board-approved real sector operations will be aligned starting July 1, 2023, and 100 percent starting July 1, 2025. We will support countries’ preparation and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions and long-term strategies; these, in turn, will inform our Country Partnership Frameworks. And we will support countries’ transition away from coal to affordable, reliable, and cleaner alternatives for electricity. Our efforts will help countries grow their economies while reducing emissions, adapting to climate change, building resilience, and protecting natural resources, including biodiversity.

In fiscal 2021, IBRD committed $30.5 billion to middle-income countries, and IDA committed $36.0 billion on grant and highly concessional terms to the poorest countries. I welcomed the G20’s endorsement of advancing IDA’s 20th replenishment cycle to 2021, which will provide the poorest countries with more resources to overcome the crisis and work toward recovery. I am also pleased that, after nearly three decades, Sudan cleared its arrears to IDA in March, enabling full reengagement with the Bank Group and paving the way for the country to access nearly $2 billion in IDA financing.

IFC delivered a strong fiscal performance, reaching a record high of $31.5 billion in financing, including $23.3 billion in long-term finance and $8.2 billion in short-term finance. IFC also scaled up its short-term financing offerings and kept trade flowing. With COVID-19 severely impacting private enterprises across emerging markets, IFC provided critical support through liquidity and trade financing, allowing companies to remain in operation, preserving jobs, and enabling long-term private sector intervention once pandemic impacts subside. We are accelerating the execution of the IFC 3.0 strategy to create more investible projects in places where they are needed most, particularly in IDA and FCS markets, and build a pipeline of investments in a post-pandemic world.

In February, I was pleased to announce the appointment of Makhtar Diop as IFC’s Managing Director and Executive Vice President. His leadership and experience will enable the World Bank Group to build on the unprecedented speed and scale of our response to the global crisis and support vital recovery efforts through the private sector.

MIGA issued $5.2 billion in guarantees to help countries achieve their development goals. These efforts are expected to provide 784,000 people with new or better electricity service, support about 14,600 jobs, generate over $362 million in taxes for countries, and enable about $1.3 billion in loans, including to local businesses. MIGA continued to make progress across its strategic priority areas, with 85 percent of its projects in fiscal 2021 dedicated to climate mitigation and adaptation, projects in fragile and conflict-affected settings, and IDA countries.

As part of our ongoing commitment to fight racism and racial discrimination in our workplaces and our work, our senior management and I welcomed 80 recommendations submitted in fiscal 2021 by the Bank Group’s Task Force on Racism. The first set of 10 foundational recommendations are already being implemented, and more are under review. I am grateful to all those who have come forward to engage on this important topic as we continue to work for tangible, meaningful, and long-lasting change.

Over the past year, our staff have gone above and beyond to support our clients, even as we transitioned to home-based work and coped with the pandemic’s impact on our own lives, families, and communities. They have ensured the highest quality standards even as we stepped up our support to clients. I am grateful for this commitment to our mission, and I look forward to welcoming staff back to our offices as circumstances permit.

There is no path to sustainable, long-term growth without continuous progress in reducing poverty and inequality. With the dedication of our staff, the support of our partners, and our relationships with countries, I am confident that we will help countries overcome this crisis and return to the path of inclusive, sustainable growth.

David Malpass
President of the World Bank Group
and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors