Coronavirus pandemic now a global economic and financial crisis, say IMFC Chair Lesetja Kganyago and IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva

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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 coronavirus pandemic has now turned into a global economic and financial crisis and strong and immediate actions are needed to minimize the impact, the Chairperson of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, Lesetja Kganyago, and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva said in a joint statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. on Friday. The IMFC is the governing body of the IMF.

The IMFC chair and IMF boss said with a sudden stop in economic activity, global output will contract in 2020 and strong policies would be needed for a recovery in 2021.

“Priority should be afforded to targeted fiscal support to vulnerable households and businesses to accelerate and strengthen the recovery in 2021,” they wrote in their statement following Friday’s conference call of the International Monetary and Financial Committee.

Read full statement below.

“We are in an unprecedented situation where a global health pandemic has turned into an economic and financial crisis. With a sudden stop in economic activity, global output will contract in 2020. Member countries have already taken extraordinary actions to save lives and safeguard economic activity. But more is needed. Priority should be afforded to targeted fiscal support to vulnerable households and businesses to accelerate and strengthen the recovery in 2021.

Although the greatest health impact has been in advanced economies, emerging market and developing countries, especially low-income countries, will be particularly hard hit by a combination of a health crisis, a sudden reversal of capital flows and, for some, a sharp drop in commodity prices. Many of these countries need help to strengthen their crisis response and restore jobs and growth, given foreign exchange liquidity shortages in emerging market economies and high debt burdens in many low-income countries.

Strong and coordinated policy actions, including at the multilateral level, are key to effectively resolve this global crisis. To this end, IMFC members welcomed the IMF’s expeditious efforts to support an exceptionally high number of countries requiring IMF emergency financing at the same time, as well as its close cooperation with other international financial institutions, especially the World Bank Group. The IMF stands ready to use its US$1 trillion financial capacity to support its member countries.

Reflecting the extraordinary challenges, the IMF has already taken action to provide relief for debt repayments for its poorest members under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust and is being called upon to strengthen its crisis response by enhancing access to its emergency facilities under the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument. Going beyond its traditional lending facilities, the IMF will explore additional options to help members that experience foreign exchange shortages.

These issues will be discussed by the IMF’s Executive Board in the coming weeks with a view to bringing a strong package of measures for the IMFC’s consideration at the Spring Meetings. Our common goal is to make the IMF’s crisis response even more effective in helping its members achieve a faster and stronger recovery.”

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