Sao Tome: World Bank approves €8 mln pandemic support programme

The World Bank has approved a $10 million (€8.1 million) programme to support the government of Sao Tome and Principe’s response to the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The World Bank Board of Directors approved a $10 million Development Policy Operation (DPO) for Sao Tome and Principe (STP) to support the government’s response to the human and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as sectoral and economic reforms,” the Bank said in a statement on Monday.

According to the World Bank’s director for the country, Jean-Christophe Carret, the programme represents a reaffirmation of the World Bank’s commitment to supporting Sao Tome and Principe to overcome the constraints imposed by Covid-19.

“The operation focuses on key structural reforms that are critical to achieving sustained and inclusive growth: efficient investment in human capital, job creation and poverty reduction,” he added.

According to the World Bank, the Covid-19 pandemic severely affected Sao Tome and Principe’s economy, particularly in losses in tourism, with consequences for the services provided to the population.

“Despite having taken timely measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 cases on the islands, the country suffered a significant outbreak, which had a great impact,” the World Bank noted, estimating that the Sao Tomean economy will suffer a deep recession in 2020, with a contraction in GDP of around 6.5%.

Sao Tome and Principe has recorded 1,009 cases of infection by the new coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in 17 deaths.