Bangladesh seeks $500 million more from World Bank for COVID-19 vaccine

Bangladesh has sought an additional loan assistance of $500 million from the World Bank to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccine immediately after the shots are available.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal asked the global lender for the help in a virtual meeting with a World Bank delegation last Thursday, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The discussions took place as a part of the annual meeting of the World Bank International Monetary Fund or IMF.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal

Hartwig Schaefer, World Bank vice-president for South Asia region, and its Country Director Mercy Miyang Tembon attended the meeting.

Kamal sought the additional fund for procurement, preservation, transportation and distribution of the vaccine under International Development Assistance or IDA19, which provides loans at the lowest interest rates, for 2020-21 fiscal year.

He also asked the World Bank to release $250 million on an emergency basis from the $500 million the lender pledged as part of efforts to help Bangladesh respond to and recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.