AfDB approves $500,000 in emergency coronavirus pandemic aid for Egypt

The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday said its board of directors approved $500,000 in emergency assistance grant to help Egypt grapple with the new coronavirus pandemic.

The AfDB grant will provide food relief and contribute to restoring the livelihoods of vulnerable populations severely affected by coronavirus in Egypt.

“The intervention will seek to complement ongoing activities by Egypt’s government to mitigate the effects of the virus pandemic on Egyptians.” the AfDB said in a statement.

The bank said the emergency assistance will prioritise and contribute to critical interventions to “ensure food security for all following the outbreak of the pandemic, which has left millions struggling to make ends meet.”

“Despite Egypt’s strong economic growth, the pandemic is expected to particularly hurt the informal sector, which provides livelihoods for the majority of the poor and vulnerable.”

“The Egyptian government’s Action Plan for COVID-19 aims to preserve the gains made by the Egyptian economy, which stabilised recently, and has earmarked EGP 100 billion (approximately $6.6 billion) in a funding package to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and fund treatment.”

The AfDB hailed the raft of measures adopted by Egypt’s Cabinet to mitigate against the effects of the pandemic. These include applying a one-time stipend of 500 Egyptian pounds for 3 months to informal workers whose livelihoods were disrupted and are not receiving any other form of subsidy; providing 1 billion pounds for exporters as part of a package of measures aimed at supporting the industrial sector; and easing measures and procedures for MSMEs to allow access to finance in support of business operation and employee retention.

“The Bank’s extension of emergency assistance funding is based on the scale of the emergency triggered by the pandemic which is clearly an urgent challenge the Government is combatting; and the proposed activities can be carried out expeditiously and effectively within the required time frame.”