IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva tells G20 leaders global economy will contract in 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic and recover in 2021

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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 managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Ms. Kristalina Georgieva projected on Thursday that the global economy will contract in 2020 amid impacts from the coronavirus pandemic and recover in 2021, adding that the richest nations should support emerging market and developing economies to overcome the brunt of the crisis and help restore growth.  

“They find themselves particularly hard hit by a combination of health crisis, sudden stop of the world economy, capital flight to safety, and – for some –sharp drop in commodity prices. These countries are the main focus of our attention,” Ms. Georgieva said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. following a conference call with G20 leaders.

“We have a considerable, $1 trillion strong, financial capacity to place in their defense, working closely with the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The challenge though is enormous.”

She said the IMF projects a contraction of global output in 2020, and recovery in 2021, adding that “how deep the contraction and how fast the recovery depends on the speed of containment of the pandemic and on how strong and coordinated our monetary and fiscal policy actions are.”

She commended the G20 leaders for taking “extraordinary steps” to save lives and safeguard the economies.

“Particularly critical is the targeted fiscal support to vulnerable households and to large and small businesses, so they can stay afloat and get quickly back to work. Otherwise it will take years to overcome the effects of widespread bankruptcies and layoffs,” she said.

“Such support will accelerate the eventual recovery, and put us in a better condition to tackle challenges such as debt overhangs and disrupted trade flows,” she added.

Ms. Georgieva said with with large number of countries simultaneously requiring IMF emergency financing and emerging markets dramatically impacted by record high capital outflows and severe shortage of FX liquidity, many low income countries step into the coronavirus crisis under a high burden of debt.

“We must act at par with the magnitude of the challenge. For us at the IMF it means working with you to make our crisis response even stronger. For this we ask your backing to double our emergency financing capacity, boost global liquidity through a sizeable SDR (Special Drawing Right) allocation, as we successfully did during the 2009 global crisis and by expanding the use of swap type facilities at the Fund and support action of official bilateral creditors to ease the debt burden of our poorest members during the times of global downturn.    

“We will get through this crisis together. Together we will lay the ground for a faster and stronger recovery,” she added.

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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