The Philippines was the World Bank’s largest borrower in FY2021 as the country needed more money for its fight against COVID-19 and efforts to close the largest output gap induced by the pandemic in the region.
The World Bank’s annual report for fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) showed that the commitments of its lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), in the Philippines during the period were the highest among all borrowing countries at $ 3.07 billion on eight transactions or loans made by the Washington-based lender.
It was nearly double the $ 1.87 billion in 2020, according to documents.
As such, the Philippines overtook India, which was the largest borrower in FY2020. India’s borrowing in 2021 was $ 2.65 billion, compared to $ 4.58 billion. dollars in 2020.
The other major IBRD borrowers after the Philippines and India in 2021 were Indonesia ($ 2.2 billion), Morocco ($ 1.8 billion), Mexico ($ 1.73 billion) ), Turkey ($ 1.5 billion), Colombia ($ 1.35 billion), Brazil ($ 1.33 billion), Argentina ($ 1.24 billion) and China ($ 1.23 billion dollars).
IBRD and International Development Association commitments to the Philippines totaled $ 6.21 billion from 2017 to 2021, with gross disbursements to date of $ 5.47 billion. The undisbursed balance of these loans was $ 2.74 billion.
In its 2021 annual report, the World Bank noted that the Philippines had the largest output gap of 8.4 percent in the East Asia and Pacific region in 2020. The output gap reflected the difference between pre-pandemic economic potential and actual performance in the midst of the pandemic.
As such, the World Bank has said the Philippines is among the countries that have benefited from its Fast-Track Mechanism for the COVID-19 Emergency Response.
In addition to financing health care and vaccines, the World Bank said it has also provided loans for conditional cash transfers in the Philippines, customs modernization, disaster resilience and recovery, peacebuilding. in the autonomous region of Bangsamoro in Muslim Mindanao and various agricultural projects.
The World Bank’s short-term loan pipeline for the Philippines included 11 upcoming project loans totaling $ 2.54 billion, some of which will be submitted for board approval before the end of this year, while that most are scheduled for 2022.
—Ben O. from Vera
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