The World Bank committed $58.8 billion in fiscal year 2009 to help poor countries in a time of global economic recession. It is a record high for the institution and a 54 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
The World Bank said in a statement that the agency supported 767 projects. Loans, grants and investment from the bank could help promote economic growth, fight poverty and assist private businesses. This amount included $20.7 billion in financing for infrastructure, a sector that stands as a pillar for recovery from crisis and also strongly sustains employment creation.
As a response to the crisis, the World Bank's funding focused strongly on projects targeting the most vulnerable in the poorest countries. In that regard, the bank proposed a "vulnerability fund," which seeks a commitment from each developed country to allot 0.7 percent of its economic stimulus package as additional aid.
"Requests for assistance from the World Bank rose sharply this year, and we expect this to continue well into 2010, as the pace of recovery is far from certain," said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. "Millions of people are suffering, and we must continue to help countries safeguard priority expenditures, including on essential infrastructure, investment in human capital, and social safety nets or we will further jeopardize hard-fought gains over recent years in overcoming poverty."