The World Bank is seeking to create a $170 billion emergency fund to help the poorest nations being buffeted by multiple crises, the Bank’s President David Malpass said on Monday.

The “crisis response envelope” will continue the work begun during the Covid-19 pandemic, and help countries deal with surging inflation, which was made worse by the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as the “severe financial stress” caused by high debt levels, he said.

“This is a continued massive crisis response,” Malpass told reporters.

High debt and inflation “are two big problems facing global growth,” he said.

“I am deeply concerned about developing countries. They are facing sudden price increases for energy, fertiliser and food.”

The Washington-based development lender last week downgraded its forecast for global growth this year, and the IMF is expected to do the same when it releases its updated forecasts on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of this week’s spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Malpass said the 15-month aid fund would run through June 2023 and build on the $157 billion Covid-response fund, which expired in June 2021.

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