By Emma Ujah
Abuja—The World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, have suspended debt payments by their poor debtor countries.
The debt relief as announced in a statement, yesterday, was specifically for the International Development Association, IDA, countries, to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the economies of the affected countries.
IDA is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. It complements the World Bank’s original lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD.
The statement said, “The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for IDA countries.
“They are home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty.
“With immediate effect and consistent with national laws of the creditor countries, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund call on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance. This will help 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.
“We invite G20 leaders to task the WBG and the IMF to make these assessments, including identifying the countries with unsustainable debt situations, and to prepare a proposal for comprehensive action by official Biilateral creditors to address both the financing and debt relief needs of IDA countries. We will seek endorsement for the Proposal at the Development Committee during the Spring Meetings (April 16–17).
“The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries.”