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World Bank to earmark USD 30 bn to combat global food shortages

The World Bank is willing to provide up to USD 30 bn to combat global food shortages aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has so far disbursed almost USD 10 bn in financial aid pledged to Kyiv, a senior bank official said on Thursday.

Axel van Trotsenburg, the bank’s managing director of operations, cited “an absolute need for international solidarity with Ukraine” during an interview with Reuters while on a visit to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

“And that solidarity has to be sustained not only in the short term but in the long term,” he emphasised.

Mr van Trotsenburg said the World Bank began providing support to Ukraine soon after the February 24 invasion and had so far disbursed close to USD 10 billion of USD 13 billion in aid it had committed to Kyiv.

He said the bank had created a platform to combine its direct support and additional support from countries such as the United States, Britain and Japan, along with separate guarantees from European states. It aims to facilitate co-financing and parallel financing. It had also created a trust fund for donors.

As he added, the bank was also supporting Ukrainians hit by the war both at home and abroad, as well as neighbouring countries and developing nations outside Europe suffering from disruptions of Ukrainian grain exports due to the war.

“This is one of the reasons that the World Bank announced we are willing to provide financing of up to USD 30 billion to deal with food insecurity over the next 12 months,” Mr van Trotsenburg explained.

A report released by the World Bank, European Commission and Ukrainian government on Friday said Russia’s invasion had caused over USD 97 billion in direct damages through June 1, but it could cost nearly USD 350 billion to rebuild the country.

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