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G20 Suspends Debt Payments for Poor Countries As the Coronavirus Spreads
by Kate Zeller
Wednesday Apr 15th, 2020 4:09 PM
The G20 announced a suspension of debt payments and interest for the world's 76 poorest countries in order to bolster health services to confront the coronavirus.
The G20 announced a suspension of debt payments and interest for the world's 76 poorest countries in order to bolster health services to confront the coronavirus. IMF head, Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President, David Malpass spoke to the G20 Finance Ministers and Governors urging all types of debt holders, including banks, to offer debt relief for poor countries.

"The most innovative piece of the G20 commitment to suspend debt payments for the poorest countries, is to create a process that involves private creditors, banks and other commercial creditors to also offer debt relief," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "While we see progress, we still need to answer a lot of questions. What about other developing countries and emerging markets who need relief? How will a process move forward to cut debt when debt is unsustainable for countries?"

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's Managing Director at a press conference, urged that every resource possible be deployed to protect lives and livelihoods as the world struggles with the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Georgieva's speech hits the right notes. All of us need to do everything we can and deploy every resource to save lives and protect jobs in the face of the coronavirus," noted LeCompte who monitors IMF reports and serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "A critical action that the world must take is to access financial reserves so all countries can survive this crisis. The leaders of the IMF must approve access to these reserves, or what's also known as the special drawing rights or SDRs."
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