Covid-19: IMF and World Bank call on G20 to offer debt relief to poor countries

The IMF and World Bank have called on G20 countries to offer immediate debt relief to poor countries that urgently need to free up funds to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the Washington-based institutions called on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments at once, if asked for forbearance by countries that qualify for the World Bank’s concessional lending programme.

“This will help with IDA countries’ immediate liquidity needs to tackle challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak and allow time for an assessment of the crisis impact and financing needs for each country,” the statement said.

Nearly 400,000 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, and around 17,000 have died.

There are now more than 2,400 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across Africa and growing warnings that the pandemic will cause major challenges for the continent’s under-resourced health services. There have been 60 reported deaths so far.

South Africa is hardest hit with over 750 infected cases.

Source: Financial Times
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