* Africa faces $44 bln funding gap – IMF * Businesses struggle as revenues sink * Investors funding pharmaceutical supplies * World Bank’s IFC ramping up funding * JPMorgan, MUFG piling in By Tom Arnold LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) – Blended finance, a mix of public and private capital, is set to boom in Africa to meet funding demand from businesses cash-strapped in the wake of COVID-19 and as investors seek safeguards against financial risks. Africa has been hit hard by the pandemic, pushing it into its first recession in 25 years and likely to drag 27 million people in the sub-Saharan region alone into extreme poverty. Businesses across the continent have struggled as banks and other financiers have slashed lending at a time when companies facing plummeting revenues need cash to pay suppliers. Blended finance, which gained traction in recent years to help governments respond to long-term challenges such as climate change and food security, is helping fill the void. Proponents such as the World Bank’s private sector investment arm IFC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have in the past helped mobilise up to $50 billion for Africa, more than a third of the global market. But… Read full this story
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