In an attempt to ensure that low-income countries are not frozen out by wealthy nations, the organization is asking its key rich-nation shareholders to back a scheme that will disburse cash over the next 12 to 18 months.
The money is part of an overall World Bank Group (WBG) package of up to $160 billion through June 2021 designed to help developing countries battle the pandemic.
According to World Bank’s President, David Malpass, the initiative was needed because COVID-19 was having a much bigger impact on low and middle-income countries than in the developed world.
“Having this finance available will be a game-changer because once a safe and effective vaccine is available it will allow people to resume their lives with confidence,” he added.
The Bank believes the global economy will not recover fully until people feel they can live, socialize, work, and travel with confidence, and an effective, safe COVID-19 vaccine is needed for this to happen.
“COVID-19 is hitting people all around the world but there has been inequality of impact,” said Malpass, adding that rich countries had more generous social safety nets, the scope to fund big increases in public spending, and central banks that could support activity through asset-purchase programs. It was important to make sure access to vaccines was “fair and equitable”.