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World Bank and Asian Development Bank join forces for a resilient recovery in South Asia

World Bank and Asian Development Bank join forces for a resilient recovery in South Asia

Zahida Bibi feared for her family's survival when she lost her job as a housekeeper in Islamabad during the COVID-19 outbreak. Zahida's four children depend on her income – and so does her husband, a cancer patient.

Pakistan's Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program provided Zahida with a fast, digital lifeline she could access through a mobile phone. "This program is a ray of hope for poor families," she said.

The Ehsaas program is a great example of how safety net systems, enhanced through digital connectivity, can reach the poorest and the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Those in need use a text message and their national identification number to apply for Ehsaas help. Biometrics verify an applicant's identity before payments are issued. The system is data-driven, automated, and politically neutral.

As a response to COVID-19, the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are coordinating more than $15.4 billion in wide-ranging lending programs in South Asia. One of the priority areas of support has been providing technical expertise to enhance the digital infrastructures delivering safety net programs.

Robust platforms with reliable data not only help countries distribute pandemic assistance now, but will also help them manage responses to natural disasters and climate change impacts in the future. Data collected can also provide valuable insights to guide future planning.

"As a response to COVID-19, the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank are coordinating more than $15.4 billion in wide-ranging lending programs in South Asia".
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