International Financial Institutions’ Covid-19 Approvals Approach $240 Billion for 2020

The CSIS Economics Program is tracking commitments, approvals, and disbursements by major international financial institutions (IFIs) to meet the massive financing needs generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. These IFIs include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, and major regional development banks. We also include select regional financing arrangements (RFAs), which, together with the IFIs, central bank bilateral swap lines, and individual countries’ foreign reserve holdings, comprise the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN).

Based on data updated through December 31, 2020:

1. We estimate IFIs approved $237.2 billion in Covid-19-related support in 2020. The IMF approved $102.9 billion, including emergency assistance and precautionary lines of credit, while the multilateral development banks (MDBs) approved a combined $132.5 billion. MDB approvals are led by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which approved $39.1 billion, the World Bank, which approved $36.9 billion, and the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), which approved $15.5 billion in Covid-19-related support. We estimate RFAs approved only a combined $1.8 billion.

The pace of approvals increased across institutions in December, with IFIs approving a collective $20.0 billion, up from $5.1 billion in November. The EIB led IFIs in December approvals with $7.6 billion in new funding, followed by the World Bank’s $6.5 billion.

Regionally, the Americas are the largest recipient of IFI approvals, of which 70 percent are IMF approvals. IFIs approved $92.3 billion in funding for the Americas, $48.6 billion for Africa, $44.8 billion for Eurasia, $43.3 billion for Asia/Oceania, and $6.2 billion for the Middle East.

Using income classifications from the World Bank, we estimate IFIs and RFAs in our dataset collectively approved $11.6 billion for low-income countries, accounting for 5 percent of total approved funding in 2020.

2. The IMF disbursed $10.1 billion in new funding in December and approved an additional $247 million. Completion of the first review of Ecuador’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) unlocked $2 billion, while Colombia became the first country to draw on its Flexible Credit Line (FCL), drawing $5.4 billion of the total $17.6 billion available.

3. IFI commitments to fund the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines total at least $23 billion. The AsDB launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative on December 11, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) announced the mobilization of $1 billion to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean on December 16. On January 13, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) president Jin Liqun announced the bank’s own funding plan to help developing countries access Covid-19 vaccines in 2021, although the plan’s total dollar value has yet to be confirmed. This wave of new commitments comes after the World Bank’s approval of a $12 billion financing envelope for developing countries to purchase and distribute Covid-19 vaccines in October and the EIB’s November commitment of €400 million ($486 million) to fund the international COVAX facility.

At their November 22 summit, G20 leaders committed to “spare no effort to ensure [the] affordable and equitable access” of Covid-19 vaccines. However, support for World Health Organization (WHO) facilities remains well below fundraising targets. As of January 19, the WHO’s Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator faced a $23.2 billion funding gap.

4. We estimate two recent entrants among MDBs approved about 10 percent of total Covid-19-related MDB funding in 2020. The AIIB and the New Development Bank (NDB) approved $6.8 billion and $6.0 billion, respectively, to respond to Covid-19. Collectively, the two institutions—each founded less than a decade ago—approved 9.7 percent of the total MDB funding in our dataset. A significant portion of the AIIB’s Covid-19 Crisis Recovery Facility has been co-financed with the Asian Development Bank, and the AIIB’s $50 million loan to Ecuador on December 3 marked its first-ever financing in Latin America.

5. RFA financing stagnated in recent months. RFAs in our dataset have not approved new funding since September, when the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) approved a $41 million loan to Jordan. Prior to that, the most recent RFA approval occurred in July.

This analysis is based on IFI press releases along with additional information as provided by the institutions; any corrections and/or clarifications will be included in future updates. Our dataset of IFI responses is available for download here. Our previous analyses of IFI responses are available here. In 2021, we will publish quarterly analysis of IFI responses.

CSIS methodology for estimating disbursements assumes full disbursement of emergency financing instruments as indicated by the financing institutions themselves. In the case of IMF and RFA lending, disbursements are based on press releases and correspond to actual disbursement schedules. However, disbursement schedules from other official sources, including many MDB operations, are often not included in public press announcements. For purposes of the attached data file, we assume full disbursement of such operations. This treatment, however, is likely to result in an overestimation of MDB disbursements. Starting with the October 2020 update, we report only headline approvals in the summary.

MDBs include the African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (AsDB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Inter-American Development Bank Group (IADB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), New Development Bank (NDB), and the World Bank Group (WB). RFAs include the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD), European Stability Mechanism (ESM), and Latin American Reserve Fund (FLAR). Country income group classifications reflect World Bank categories.

Stephanie Segal is a senior fellow with the Economics Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. Joshua Henderson was a research intern with the CSIS Economics Program. Dylan Gerstel is a research assistant with the CSIS Economics Program.

Commentary is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).

© 2021 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

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Dylan Gerstel

Dylan Gerstel

Research Associate, Economics Program

Joshua Henderson

Intern, Economics Program