A combine harvesting picks up the wheat on a field near the Krasne village, in the Chernihiv area, 120 km to the north from Kyiv, on July 5, 2019. (ANATOLII STEPANOV / FAO / AFP)
SARAJEVO – The World Bank is willing to provide up to US$30 billion to combat global food shortages aggravated by Russia's special military operation in Ukraine and has so far disbursed almost US$10 billion in financial aid pledged to Kyiv, a senior bank official said on Thursday.
Axel van Trotsenburg, the bank's managing director of operations, cited "an absolute need for international solidarity with Ukraine" during an interview with Reuters while on a visit to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
We set up (a) system through which we could help the continuation of the state functions of Ukraine – paying teacher salaries, pensions, helping the health system. That has worked very well and some of our partner countries wanted to use that mechanism because we can then also trace money.
Axel van Trotsenburg, Wold Bank's managing director of operations
"And that solidarity has to be sustained not only in the short term but in the long term," he said.
Van Trotsenburg said the World Bank so far disbursed close to US$10 billion of US$13 billion in aid it had committed to Kyiv.
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He said the bank had created a platform to combine its direct support and additional support from countries such as the United States, Britain and Japan, along with separate guarantees from European states, and also facilitate co-financing and parallel financing. It had also created a trust fund for donors.
"We set up (a) system through which we could help the continuation of the state functions of Ukraine – paying teacher salaries, pensions, helping the health system. That has worked very well and some of our partner countries wanted to use that mechanism because we can then also trace money," van Trotsenburg said.
He said the bank was also supporting Ukrainians hit by the conflict both at home and abroad, as well as neighboring countries and developing nations outside Europe suffering from disruptions of Ukrainian grain exports due to the war.
"This is one of the reasons that the World Bank announced we are willing to provide financing of up to US$30 billion to deal with food insecurity over the next 12 months."
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