By Daria Seto Suchic
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – The World Bank is ready to provide up to $30 billion to combat global food shortages exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and so far has paid out nearly $10 billion in financial aid pledged by Kyiv, a senior World Bank official said on Thursday. .
Axel van Trotsenburg, managing director of operations at the bank, noted the “absolute need for international solidarity with Ukraine” during an interview with Reuters during his visit to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
“And this solidarity must continue not only in the short term but in the long term,” he said.
Van Trotsenburg said the World Bank began providing support to Ukraine shortly after the Russian invasion on February 24, and has so far disbursed nearly $10 billion of the $13 billion in aid it has committed to Kiev.
He said the bank has 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 countries, as well as facilitate joint and parallel financing. It also established a trust fund for donors.
He said that while various countries channeled support through the trust, the largest amounts came from the United States with an average of at least $1.5 billion out of the nearly $5 billion in external financing Kyiv needs each month.
“We have created (a) a system where we can help sustain state functions in Ukraine – pay teachers’ salaries, pensions, help the health system. It worked very well and some of our partner countries wanted to use this mechanism because we could,” Van Trotsenburg said. Also track money.
He said the bank supports war-affected Ukrainians at home and abroad, as well as neighboring countries and developing countries outside Europe that are experiencing disruptions to Ukraine’s grain exports due to the war.
“This is one of the reasons why the World Bank is ready to provide up to $30 billion in financing to tackle food insecurity over the next 12 months.”
A report by the World Bank, the European Commission and the Ukrainian government said on Friday that the Russian invasion had caused more than $97 billion in direct damages as of June 1, but the country’s reconstruction could cost nearly $350 billion.