COVID-19: World Bank Wants Debt Repayments By ‘Poor Countries’ Suspended

SAN FRANCISCO, March 25, (THEWILL) – The World Bank has appealed to the United States, China, the United Kingdom and other member countries of the G20 to allow, “the poorest countries to suspend all repayments of official bilateral credit,” due to the ravaging COVID-19.

A statement obtained on the multilateral institution’s website revealed that its President, David Malpass, made the call during the G20 finance ministers’ conference call.

Malpass said the debt repayment should be suspended until the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had assessed the reconstruction and financing needs of the poor countries.

According to him, the World Bank and the IMF were ready to work quickly with official bilateral creditors and with other international organisations as partners to finalise a process in April.

“I’m calling on the G20 Leaders to allow the poorest countries to suspend all repayments of official bilateral credit until the World Bank and the IMF have made a full assessment of their reconstruction and financing needs.

“These are difficult times for all, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. For the World Bank Group, our first goal is to provide prompt support during the crisis, based on a country’s needs.

“It’s also vital to shorten the time to recovery and create confidence that the recovery can be strong,” he said.

The World Bank boss said the breadth and speed of its response were critical to its effectiveness.

He stated that on March 17, the bank and its subsidiary, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) boards approved a $14 billion package to respond to COVID-19.

Of that, IFC would give $8 billion in relatively fast-acting financial support for private companies, he said.

Also, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) will provide $6 billion in the near term to support health care.

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