Vienna, August 25, 2020 — The OPEC International Development Fund ,OFID, has granted four loans to support COVID-19’s response efforts in Bangladesh, Benin, Dominica and Guyana. The loans, totalling USD 115 million, are part of the OPEC Fund’s USD 1 billion commitment to collective and coordinated COVID-19-related assistance to developing countries. A USD 70 million budget support loan for Bangladesh will help to provide programmes for social safety net programmes for the poor and vulnerable, day laborers and informal workers, as well as medical staff. The loan will also contribute to economic packages to protect Bangladesh’s export industry. Measures include zero-cost loans to support factory workers’ salaries and low-interest loans to factories and small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, around 600,000 tonnes of rice and wheat are distributed to low-income households.
Benin will receive USD 15 million to strengthen disease monitoring and treatment systems in the country and to help purchase rapid diagnostic tests, laboratory equipment, consumables and medicines for hospitals and COVID-19 treatment centers. Seventeen decentralized laboratories across the country will be equipped to carry out mass screening programs. A USD 10 million loan to Dominica will support COVID-19 containment and treatment measures, as well as the expansion of nationwide quarantine services. This requires the purchase of medical equipment and equipment, as well as salaries for medical personnel. Guyana’s USD 20 million loan will help to strengthen a national social security network, including food and education for 20,000 low-income families; Social assistance (including electricity assistance and unemployment benefits) for around 55,000 households; and subsidised loans and loan guarantees to some 300 micro and small enterprises in sectors affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.