The World Bank's Development Committee has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other development agencies to ease the debt burden of low and middle-income countries that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
David R Malpass, president of the World Bank Group, at a press briefing after a meeting of the Development Committee, said, "The bank should also further explore suspension of debt payments for the world's poorest countries."
He said, "The world bank emphasises health, agriculture and food security to fight COVID-19."
The session was arranged as part of the spring meeting of the World Bank and the IMF, which was held virtually due to the impact of COVID-19.
Several programmes of the meeting started on April 13, but the final round of the meeting started officially on Friday, and is scheduled to conclude on April 19.
David R Malpass said the life of people is the first priority, then the issue of food. It is important to ensure sustainable agricultural production to maintain a global chain.
He also said, "Supply chain of food and agricultural product is now at threat. The World Bank will help to provide food for poor people, and for the people who have lost their jobs. The World Bank will welcome any idea and initiatives from governments in this regard."
He also committed to back World Bank's member countries with all types of required support.
He warned of a major global recession, beyond the health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, which will lead to a much deeper global downturn than the Great Recession.
"This crisis will likely hit the poorest and most vulnerable countries the hardest. IDA countries, which are home to two-thirds of the world's extreme poor, will be severely affected," said the president.
He said the World Bank has financed COVID-19 programmes in 64 developing countries, and it will cover 100 countries by the end of April.
He also said the World Bank Group could provide $160 billion over the next 15 months, while IDA, the soft loan window of the agency, will provide $50 billion as a grant or highly concessional credit.