The Board of Executive Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has approved US$ 2.3 billion for the IsDB Group Strategic Preparedness and Response Programme for COVID-19 pandemic. As of 30 March, there have been more than 61,794 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 52 Member Countries. Simulation models on the spread of the virus indicate that there may be an exponential rise in the number of cases unless stringent action is taken to suppress the spread. Member Countries with weak healthcare systems are at an extremely high risk.

The Programme aims to support Member Countries’ efforts to prevent, contain, mitigate and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Programme envisages a holistic approach in the short, medium and long term, accommodating priorities beyond the immediate and emergency response to the health sector, while putting Member Countries back on the path of economic recovery through restoring livelihoods, building resilience and kick-starting economic growth. The Programme adopts a 3-R approach, with each component focusing on Respond, Restore and Restart and with technology playing a key role at each stage.

The IsDB has made a contribution of US$ 1,520 million to the Programme, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) US$ 50 million, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) US$ 300 million, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) US$ 250 million, the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Fund for Charitable Action (KAAP) US$ 8.5 million, the Science, Technology and Innovation Transform Fund US$ 1 million, in addition to US$ 150 million from the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC).

Dr Bandar Hajjar, the President of the IsDB Group, has stated that this IsDB Group initiative is consistent with the IsDB Strategy and with his five-year programme (P5P) which sets as a top priority meeting Member Countries’ expectations with respect to the IsDB Group’s rapid response to their current and urgent challenges.

Dr Hajjar has estimated that global GDP growth would fall by 0.5% - 1.5% as a result of the crisis, and according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) an estimated loss to the global economy of 1 to 2 trillion US dollars in 2020. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also estimated a loss of 25 million jobs.

Dr Hajjar also stated that the global supply chains stand disrupted as a result of poor trading conditions, with SMEs being among the hardest hit. He added that the economic crisis, compounded with dampened economic activity, commodity price crashes, lower tax receipts and low investments presents a huge risk to the Member Countries with a long-term impact on growth and productivity.