IMF offers Malawi, others debt relief

IMF, World Bank reaffirm support in Covid-19 fight

Post was last updated: April 22, 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have reaffirmed commitment to supporting Malawi and other African economies in cushioning possible effects of the novel Covid-19.

Last week, the two Bretton Woods institutions convened African leaders, bilateral partners, and multilateral institutions to spur faster action on Covid-19 response in African countries.

In a joint statement, the institutions said official creditors have mobilised up to $57 billion for Africa in 2020 alone—including upwards of $18 billion from the IMF and the World Bank each—to provide front-line health services, support the poor and vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s.

“Private creditor support this year could amount to an estimated $13 billion. This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114 billion in 2020 in its fight against Covid-19, leaving a financing gap of around $44 billion,” reads the statement.

World Bank Group President, David Malpass, is quoted as saying the Group is putting its full capacity to work for people across Africa as they fight the pandemic.

“We have provided emergency support to 30 countries across Africa so far, with more to come, and will continue to advocate for debt relief and increased resources, especially for those countries hardest hit by Covid-19,”Malpass said.

IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva added that the IMF will provide more concessional financing and counts on others to step up and do their part, to shield the economy and the people, and provide the foundations for a strong and sustainable recovery.

The institutions emphasized the need for African countries to work together especially on the health response and on limiting trade disruptions to ensure freer movement of medical and food supplies.

They stress that with 89 percent of workers in Sub-Saharan Africa operating in the informal sector countries need to take immediate steps to expand social safety net programs and support workers and small enterprises.

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