Japan to contribute record 376 bil. yen to World Bank fund for poor

© Kyodo News

Japan will contribute a record 376.7 billion yen ($3.4 billion) to the International Development Association, a World Bank fund for the poorest nations, in a bid to help such countries recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

The IDA will use its funds to provide assistance to 74 low-income countries such as delivering vaccines, creating jobs lost in the pandemic and tackling climate change.

"The world continues to face an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19," said Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki at a virtual, two-day meeting of donors hosted by Japan. "Now is the time for global solidarity."

The World Bank separately announced that it has decided on its largest ever replenishment package of $93 billion for the fund.

Replenishments are normally provided to the IDA once every three years, but the depletion of the fund amid the pandemic pushed forward the timeline by one year. In December 2019, donors agreed to make contributions worth a total of $82 billion.

Japan and other donors together will contribute a total of $23.5 billion to the IDA this time.

David Malpass, president of the World Bank, said in a statement that the "generous commitment by our partners is a critical step toward supporting poor countries in their efforts to recover from the COVID-19 crisis."

The IDA, founded in 1960, aids the poorest countries by providing grants as well as zero to low-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth and reduce poverty.