Washington / The G20 on Wednesday gave its support to suspending debt service payments by the world’s poorest countries until the end of 2020 due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the group said in a statement at the close of its recent meeting.
“We agreed on a coordinated approach with a common term sheet providing the key features for this debt service suspension initiative, which is also agreed by the Paris Club,” said the G20 in a joint statement after its meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, a move that was applauded by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The G20, presided over this year by Saudi Arabia and including the world’s most advanced and developing economies, including China, on Wednesday held its meeting to coincide with the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank and staged the gathering telematically due to the pandemic.
In recent years, Beijing has become one of the main lenders to developing countries and thus its inclusion in the proposal is vital.
In a joint communique, IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank chief David Malpass on Wednesday praised the new G20 debt relief agreement, saying that the initiative will help protect the lives of millions of people in the world’s “most vulnerable” countries.
The G20 urged private lenders, via the International Finance Institute, to participate in the initiative on comparable terms.
The coronavirus pandemic will cause the world economy to suffer a 3 percent contraction into recession this year, a figure not seen since the Great Depression of 1930, the IMF warmed in its World Economic Outlook report issued earlier this week.
According to Malpass, the poor countries are facing debt service payments through the end of 2020 amounting to some $14 billion.
The IMF and World Bank this week are holding their regular spring assembly but this time around they are doing so online due to the pandemic.
On Wednesday, The Johns Hopkins University reported that the number of worldwide confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed two million just 12 days after the World Health Organization said that the one-million threshold had been breached.
A total of 2,000,984 confirmed cases of the virus were reported by the university, along with 128,071 deaths, with the United States suffering 609,696 cases and 26,059 deaths and in the No. 1 spot in both grim statistics, followed by Spain with 177,633 cases and 18,579 deaths and Italy with 162,488 cases and 21,067 deaths. (April 15, 2020, EFE/EPA/PracticaEspañol)
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