May 8, 2020 / 3:03 AM / a month ago

World Bank approves $506 million in pandemic aid for Ecuador

FILE PHOTO: Guayaquil's firefighters carry the casket of their chief Luis Paez, who died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and whose wife died of the same reason a few days earlier, during Paez's funeral, in Guayaquil, Ecuador April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank’s board of directors on Thursday approved $506 million in emergency loans and grants for Ecuador to help the Andean country grapple with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Latin America, the Bank said in a statement.

The aid includes a flexible $500 million loan to help Ecuadorian authorities cover budget needs during the crisis and to promote economic recovery. It is a variable-spread loan with a 28-year maturity period and an 11-year grace period.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus and plummeting oil prices and global demand are having a devastating effect on oil-producing Ecuador.

The Bank’s aid package also includes a $6 million non-reimbursible grant from its Global Concessional Financing Facility. The funds will be used to support Ecuador’s efforts to aid its Venezuelan migrant population and the Ecuadorian population that has received the refugees.

The Bank said the $500 million recognized the Ecuadorian government’s efforts “to achieve fiscal sustainability, strengthen dollarization, improve transparency and accountability, and promote responsible public debt management.”

The World Bank’s aid comes days after the executive board of the International Monetary Fund approved $643 million in emergency financing for Ecuador.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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