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More synchronized action needed to tackle COVID crisis: IMF’s Georgieva

The international community must do more to tackle the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.

Some of the key events of the IMF’s virtual and elongated annual meetings take place this week, with the most pressing issue how to support struggling countries.

“We are going to continue to push to do even more,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said during an online FT Africa summit.

“I would beg for also more grants for African countries. The World Bank has grant giving capacity. Perhaps you can do even more… and bilateral donors can do more in that regard.”

G20 governments are expected to extend their Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) which has so far frozen around $5 billion of poorer countries’ debt payments but pressure is on the main development banks and private creditors to provide relief too.

Georgieva added the Fund was pushing to shift more of its existing Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to countries that needed support most, and was “very committed” to finding a way forward for countries like Zambia now needing to restructure their debts.

Georgieva said countries in serious trouble must restructure their debts as soon as possible.

“This is the message for all countries in debt distress… If debt is not sustainable, please move towards restructuring, the sooner the better,” she said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Marc Jones and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Tom Arnold and Ed Osmond)

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