THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board has approved an immediate debt service relief to 25 member countries as part of measures to alleviate the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus.
Zimbabwe is not on the list of beneficiary countries having cleared its US$108 million arrears in 2016 and is now working on clearing about US$2.2bn owed to the World Bank and African Develolopment Bank.
Developing economies including African countries are already feeling the heat as Covid-19 continues to spread across the globe amid a rising death toll and crippling effect on trade, as countries enforce lockdown measures.
IMF managing director, Ms Kristalina Georgieva, announced the historic debt service relief decision in a statement following Monday meeting.
“Today, I am pleased to say that our executive board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF’s member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
“This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts.”
Ms Georgieva said the CCRT would in the meantime provide about US$500 million in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent US$185 million pledge by the U.K. and US$100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources.
Others, including China and the Netherlands, are also stepping forward with important contributions.
“I urge other donors to help us replenish the Trust’s resources and boost further our ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to our poorest member countries,” she said.
According to the statement the countries that will receive debt service relief are: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DR., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.