With $3.07B in loans, PH is World Bank’s top borrower
The Philippines was the World Bank’s top borrower in fiscal year 2021 as the country needed more money for its fight against COVID-19 and efforts to narrow down the biggest pandemic-induced output gap 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), to the Philippines during the period was the highest among all country-borrowers at $3.07 billion across eight operations or loans extended by the Washington-based lender.
This was nearly double the $1.87 billion in 2020, documents showed.
As such, the Philippines surpassed India which was the biggest borrower in fiscal year 2020. India’s borrowing in 2021 was $2.65 billion, down from $4.58 billion in 2020.
IBRD’s other large country-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).
Commitments to the Philippines of IBRD and the International Development Association totaled $6.21 billion from 2017 to 2021, of which gross disbursements to date amounted to $5.47 billion. The undisbursed balance from these loans amounted to $2.74 billion.
In its 2021 annual report, the World Bank noted that the Philippines had the biggest output gap of 8.4 percent in the East Asia and Pacific region in 2020. The output gap reflected the difference between prepandemic economic potential against actual performance amid the pandemic.
As such, the World Bank said the Philippines was among the countries which benefited from its fast-track facility for emergency COVID-19 response.
Besides health-care and vaccine financing, the World Bank said it had also extended loans for the Philippines’ conditional cash transfers, customs modernization, disaster resilience and recovery, peace-building in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and various agriculture projects.
The World Bank’s near-term lending pipeline for the Philippines included 11 upcoming project loans totaling $2.54 billion, some of which will be up for board approval before the end of this year while most are scheduled for 2022.
—Ben O. de Vera
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