World Bank ramps up support for fragile MENA countries

World Bank is collaborating with developing nations to address the impact of the outbreak. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 April 2020

World Bank ramps up support for fragile MENA countries

  • Some of the countries already specified by the World Bank as recipients of the coronavirus aid are Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco

DUBAI: The World Bank has rolled out financial support efforts to address public health needs, particularly for developing countries, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The international organization said it has been collaborating with countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to “dispatch immediate help,” Farid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for MENA, said, as quoted by the Kuwait News Agency.

World Bank earlier announced the Fast-Track COVID-19 Facility for developing nations, which includes financial support, policy advise and technical assistance.

“This effort will continue throughout the crisis and beyond, as we work to save lives, slow the spread of the pandemic, and hasten the recovery across the region,” Belhaj added.

Some of the countries already specified by the World Bank as recipients of the coronavirus aid are Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco.


Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

Updated 53 min 39 sec ago

Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

DUBAI: The Kuwaiti government said it wants to cut the migrant proportion of its population from 70 to 30 percent to address what it called a population discrepancy. 
State media quoted the country’s prime minister saying that the state of Kuwait was facing a “big challenge” in its population structure and that it shall start relying on its citizens to replace foreign workers. 
Out of 4.8 million inhabitants, some 3.3 million are foreign nationals and 1.45 million are Kuwaitis, said Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah.
"The ideal demographic situation would be that Kuwaitis make up 70 percent of the population and non-Kuwaitis 30 percent," he said.
"So we face a big challenge in the future which is to address the discrepancy in population."
He said there were 75,000 foreign domestic helpers in the country, which equal half the population of Kuwaiti nationals. 
“We rely on our sons and daughters to work in all professions,” Al-Sabah added.

Kuwait has a large foreign population mostly made up of Middle Eastern and Asian workers.

Kuwait Airways said last week it would lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to "significant difficulties" caused by the pandemic.