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COVID-19: IMF disburses $10bn to African countries

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Emma Uja, Abuja Bureau Chief

South Africa's finance minister says more than $4 billion available from the IMF, World Bank

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disbursed US$10 billion to 27 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to enable them to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IMF spokesman, Mr. Gerry Rice, disclosed this at a press briefing in Washington DC this afternoon.

According to him, the multilateral organisation’s disbursement in the last 10 weeks equaled what it usually disbursed to the region in 10 years, at an average of $1 billion annually.

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His words, “To help Sub-Saharan Africa in the COVID-19 crisis, the IMF is assisting on an unprecedented scale. We have disbursed a total of $10 billion in the 10 weeks –about 10 times the annual average for the region before the crisis.

“We are also exploring ways to deploy Special Drawing Rights to support low-income and small economies, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“And together with the World Bank, we support the G20 debt service suspension initiative that could provide temporary breathing space of some $12 billion to eligible low-income countries.

“Other development partners such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank are also ramping up financing.”

According to Mr. Rice, between 34 -40 African nations have made requests for the IMF assistance, to enable them effectively tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

He expressed optimism that the organization was looking to providing more assistance, in the weeks ahead.

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