MANILA (Reuters) -- The World Bank said on Tuesday it has approved a $600 million loan to support the Philippines' economic recovery and efforts to make its financial sector more resilient.
The funds will be channeled toward strengthening its financial sector stability, expanding financial inclusion, and improving disaster risk finance, the multilateral bank said in a statement.
"Financial inclusion can be a key enabler to speed up poverty reduction and strengthen recovery from the pandemic," said Ndiame Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Only half of Filipinos aged 15 and above have a transaction account with a financial institution, below the East Asia and Pacific regional average of 80%, World Bank data shows.
The Philippine central bank is aiming for 70% of Filipino adults to be bank account holders by this year.
The World Bank said the loan also aims to develop a catastrophe insurance market in the Philippines to prevent people from falling into poverty following natural disasters.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, is hit by an average of 20 tropical storms every year that cause deadly landslides and flash floods, and destroy crops and infrastructure. It is also prone to earthquakes as it sits on the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire."