Coronavirus fears: G7 favours debt standstill for poorest nations

IMF and World Bank have called for official creditors to provide relief


Afp April 15, 2020
ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

WASHINGTON: Finance ministers and central bankers from G7 countries said on Tuesday that they favour a temporary halt to debt payments from the world’s poorest countries, but only if G20 governments also agree.

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced nations said it stands “ready to provide a time-bound suspension on debt service payments” owed to their governments “if joined by all bilateral official creditors in the G20 and as agreed with the Paris Club.”

The initiative endorsed by the G7 aims to “provide liquidity support to help these countries deal with the health and economic impacts of the crisis,” according to a summary released after G7 officials met by video conference.

The IMF and World Bank have called for official creditors to provide relief to the world’s 76 poorest countries and the IMF on Monday approved a six-month standstill on debt payments from 25 nations, mostly in Africa.

Officials from the seven advanced nations said they would also work with the Institute for International Finance global banking association to “call on private creditors to provide comparable treatment.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2020.

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