© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) sits next to her stall, as the new Omicron coronavirus variant spreads, at Tsomo, a town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, December 2, 2021. REUTERS
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – The World Bank has approved a loan of $750 million to South Africa linked to COVID-19, aiming to help protect the poor and support economic recovery from the pandemic, the National Treasury said on Friday.
The continent’s second largest economy, South Africa has been hit hard by four waves of infection that killed close to 94,000 people and infected 3.5 million in Africa’s worst caseload.
Successive lockdowns meant to protect people have led to the closure of thousands of businesses, swelling an army of unemployed as South Africa’s jobless rate hit records in 2021.
“The World Bank budget support is coming at a critical time for us,” Dondo Mogajane, the director-general of the National Treasury, said in a statement.
Funds from the development policy loan would help bridge a financing gap stemming from additional spending on the COVID-19 crisis, he added.