World Bank president says ‘deep’ coronavirus recession will hurt world's poorest countries the most

Malpass said the coronavirus has triggered a 'deep' recession

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The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the world into a “deep” economic recession that will disproportionately hurt poorer countries, according to the head of the World Bank.

“I’m afraid there’s a deep recession,” David Malpass told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Monday. “That’s pretty clear. It’s the poorest countries [that are hurt] the most.”

In early April, the World Bank approved a $1.9 billion funding program to help about 25 of the world’s poorer countries combat the virus. The largest amount of aid went toward India ($1 billion), followed by Pakistan ($200 million), Sri Lanka ($129 million), Afghanistan ($100 million) and Ethiopia ($83 million).

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Malpass predicted at the time that the World Bank could ultimately deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months for virus relief efforts.

And last week, the Washington-based organization said its “pandemic bonds” would pay out close to $133 million to some of the poorest nations impacted by the virus, though critics have questioned whether the aid is arriving too late.

The virus has forced economies throughout the world to come to a near standstill, bringing to a screeching halt global supply chains and caused tens of millions of workers to lose their jobs as governments imposed strict stay-at-home mandates to minimize the spread.

Malpass estimated that at least 50 million people will fall into “extreme poverty” as a result of the outbreak, leading to higher infant mortality rates and stunted growth rates for children. The length of economic recovery in the world’s poorer nations hinges on advanced economies, he said.

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“I think it’s urgent that we find a way to shorten the time to get going,” he said.

The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with nearly 760,000 reported, accounting for roughly one-third of the global outbreak, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. More than 40,600 people have died in the U.S. as a result of the virus.

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