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Finance Minister addresses WBG committee on behalf of Arab Group, Maldives

October 18, 2020
finance & economy

(BNA): Finance and National Economy Minister, Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, has lauded the World Bank Group (WBG)’s interest in combating the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and prompt response to the needs of countries, through assisting them in implementing pre-emptive and precautionary measures to limit the spread of the pandemic.

He also highlighted the importance of stepping up international cooperation to counter the repercussions of the pandemic and mitigate its impacts at all levels.

The minister underlined the importance of continuous support for the public health systems in order to fight COVID-19 and reduce its negative effects on the global economic activities and workers, stressing the pivotal role that the WBG could play in this regard.

The Finance Minister was speaking as he delivered a statement on behalf of the Arab Group and the Republic of Maldives, represented by Bahrain, to the meeting of the “Development Committee”, held remotely on the sidelines of the 2020 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

The minister highlighted the importance of international cooperation to address the repercussions of this virus, and reduce the 'digital gap' in order to achieve the sustainable development goals and the goals of the World Bank Group to end poverty, promote shared prosperity and ensure the rapid deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in the future, especially for low-income countries or conflict-affected regions with vulnerable situations.

He underlined the important role played by the World Bank Group in identifying and implementing reforms that contribute to increasing economic growth, enhancing the flexibility of government institutions, and returning the sustainable development goals back on track by finding innovative solutions at the level of countries.

In this context, Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa emphasised the great role that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) could play in providing support to the private sector in overcoming the main challenges of trade, supply chains and financing to overcome this exceptional period.

The minister said that the Arab Group welcomes the call of the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and G20, led Saudi Arabia, to extend the debt relief period for low and middle-income countries and to continue implementing the approach followed by the World Bank within the framework of its work with borrowers and creditors, including assisting countries in improving public debt management capabilities, increasing debt transparency, and enhancing financial sustainability.