IMF extends debt service relief programme as pandemic continues to bite

6 Oct 20

Some of the world’s poorest countries will continue to benefit from debt service relief for another six months, after the IMF extended its scheme.


An initial six-month tranche of relief was approved for 28 countries in April under the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, and the scheme has now been extended until April 2021.

The extension, which is worth an estimated $227m, will help those countries by freeing up scarce financial resources for medical and other relief efforts as they struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme could run for a total of two years, until April 2022.

Countries receiving the relief “are, in the main, pursuing sensible macroeconomic policies” in the context of the pandemic, the IMF executive board said in a statement.

“Resources freed up by the initial tranche of CCRT debt service relief were helping to provide emergency health, social and economic support to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods,” the statement read.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva launched a fundraising campaign when the first tranche was approved, hoping to ensure the CCRT is adequately funded for any future crises.

So far, donors have provided grant contributions totalling about $500m – far short of the IMF’s target of $1.4bn. The largest donors have so far been the UK and Japan.

Read more: Heaping debt upon disaster: how the pandemic affects what developing countries owe

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