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The spread of COVID-19 has seen a truly global effort to help the people, communities and economies most affected by the pandemic, including a US$1bn social bond – the largest social bond ever issued by the International Finance Corporation.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working closely with the private sector to help sustain jobs and reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Its social bond issue follows the World Bank Group’s announcement that it will release US$14bn to aid in the fight against the coronavirus, US$8bn of which will be made available by the IFC.

IFC’s mission is to help protect the livelihoods, health and wellbeing of people in developing countries. With the coronavirus pandemic already having a profound effect on global supply chains, manufacturing and the tourism industry, micro-, small and medium enterprises in less established economies are at particular risk.

This social bond issue will help the World Bank Group deliver on its commitment to raise funds with the aim of strengthening health systems, disease surveillance, and public health interventions to address COVID-19.

Strengthening health systems
Disease surveillance
Public health interventions

“Not only is this pandemic costing lives, but its impact on economies and living standards will likely outlive the health emergency phase. By ensuring our clients sustain their operations during this time, we hope the private sector in the developing world will be better equipped to help economies recover more quickly,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of IFC. “In turn, this will help vulnerable groups to more quickly recover their livelihoods and continue to invest in the future.”

This is the first social bond deal of its type targeting COVID-19, demonstrating real action from IFC and investors with focus on social responsibility towards making a difference for those impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
Lee Cumbes, Managing Director, Head of Public Sector Debt EMEA, Barclays

Barclays are proud to have supported this bond issuance as part of the bank’s commitment to facilitating £150bn of social and environmental financing by 2025. This deal was the latest in Barclays’ long-standing relationship with members of the World Bank Group. Barclays recently led two bond issues for the International Development Association (IDA) – their inaugural sterling benchmark in January this year and the IDA’s first-ever benchmark in 2018. Proceeds from these issuances will help boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve living conditions in the world’s poorest countries.

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