World Bank, IMF calls for debt relief for poorest countries

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked bilateral creditors to offer debt relief for countries such as Malawi due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund said the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for the poorest countries, where a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population live in extreme poverty.

The two institutions invited G20 leaders to let the WBG and the IMF identify the countries with unsustainable debt situations, and to prepare a proposal for comprehensive action by official bilateral creditors to address both the financing and debt relief needs of the 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 as well as a strong signal to financial markets. The international community would welcome G20 support for this Call to Action,” the two institutions said in the joint statement.

According to the World Bank, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Agriculture employs about 80 percent of the population and the sector is vulnerable to external shocks, particularly climatic shocks.

The country, however, is one of the few across the world yet to record a case of the coronavirus.

Over 536, 000 cases of the coronavirus have been recorded across the world.

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