THE International Monetary Fund, (IMF) on Monday granted immediate debt relief to 25 countries, 19 of which are in Africa, 4 in Asia, one in Oceania and one in North America.

A statement issued in Washington, DC by IMF’s Communications Department quoted Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, IMF’s Managing Director, to have named the African countries to include Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Togo. The Asian countries include Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan and Yemen, while the Solomon Islands and Haiti are in Oceania and North America, respectively.

Ms. Georgieva stated that the IMF’s Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

“Today, I am pleased to say that our Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF’s member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 “This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts.

 “The CCRT can currently provide about US$500 million in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent US$185 million pledge by the U.K. and US$100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources. Others, including China and the Netherlands, are also stepping forward with important contributions. I urge other donors to help us replenish the Trust’s resources and boost further our ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to our poorest member countries,” Ms. Georgieva stated.

Since the coronavirus pandemic worsened, some international organisations and economic blocks have called for debt relief to be granted to poor, vulnerable and underdeveloped nations to enable them to redirect resources to fight the infection, in addition to calls for donations in cash and kind from well to do countries and individuals.

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