$10 billion funding with zero interest rate available for African countries impacted by coronavirus, IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva says

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made available up to $10 billion funding with zero interest rate for low-income countries, especially Sub-Saharan African nations impacted by the current coronavirus outbreak, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva announced on Wednesday.

“We do have up to $10 billion available for low income countries to tap into with zero interest rate, and obviously we will prioritize countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that have already been faced with difficulties,” Ms. Georgieva said at a joint press conference in Washington D.C. with World Bank President David Malpass.

“And we have a Trust Fund that allows lowest income countries to pay their obligations to the IMF so they can use this fiscal space to fund priorities investments,” Ms. Georgieva added in response to a question by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkWmn3t_iwA

The World Bank Chief Mr. Malpass said there was ‘substantial financing available’ in the $12 billion funding he announced a day earlier on Tuesday for low-income countries to respond to the current coronavirus crisis.

“It is based on the need of the countries themselves” as they improve systems to meet their current health needs or look at new systems, Mr. Malpass said.

On Tuesday, the World Bank announced it was making available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support for countries responding to the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 respiratory disease.

The World Bank said the financing was designed to “help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus)”.

“Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies. The financial package, with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, will be globally coordinated to support country-based responses,” the bank said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

It said the COVID-19 support package will make available initial crisis resources of up to $12 billion in financing — $8 billion of which is new — on a fast track basis.

This comprises up to $2.7 billion new financing from IBRD; $1.3 billion from IDA, complemented by reprioritization of $2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio; and $6 billion from IFC, including $2 billion from existing trade facilities. It will also include policy advice and technical assistance drawing on global expertise and country-level knowledge.

“We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “This includes emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group’s existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis.”

Hours before the press conference on Wednesday, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) said the IMF’s 189 member countries were united in the fight against coronavirus outbreak.

IMFC’s statement came following a teleconference call, chaired by Governor of the South African Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva.

“We are determined to provide the necessary support to mitigate the impact, especially on the most vulnerable people and countries. We have called upon the IMF to use all its available financing instruments to help member countries in need. We are confident that, working together, we will overcome the challenge facing us and restore growth and prosperity for all,” IMFC said.

Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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