G20 nations agree finance plan for poorer countries

17 Apr 20

G20 countries have agreed a finance plan to help some of the poorest countries in the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

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by Downing Street

Finance ministers have agreed to a plan that includes a call for the implementation of a $200bn package of global support from the World Bank and the regional development banks – multilateral financial institutions that provide financial and technical assistance for development in low- and middle-income countries within their regions.

The allocated funds will be used to invest in health programmes and to provide emergency financial support to the poorest countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

It was also agreed to suspend debt payments from the world’s poorest countries – which is expected to free up £12bn to tackle the virus.

In a joint statement, World Bank Group president David Malpass and IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said: “This is a powerful, fast-acting initiative that will do much to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of millions of the most vulnerable people.

“The World Bank Group and IMF will move quickly to respond to the G20’s request for us to support this action by working closely with these countries in ways that make the best use of this vital lifeline. We championed this debt initiative, and we're committed to taking all possible steps to support the poor.”

The Jubilee Debt Campaign, a UK-based debt charity, supported the move, but called for more to be done. Director Sarah-Jayne Clifton said: “This is a first step in dealing with the magnitude of the coronavirus debt crisis, but much more needs to be done.

“The G20 deal keeps vital money in countries for now, but today’s suspension will soon become tomorrow’s debt crisis unless payments are cancelled in full. We urgently need a UN-led process to cancel external debt owed to all creditors, for all countries in crisis.”

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