IMF extends debt service relief for 25 low-income countries | News | DW | 21.12.2021

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IMF extends debt service relief for 25 low-income countries

The International Monetary Fund has approved a fifth and final tranche of relief totaling around $115 million to help 25 of its members deal with the "repercussions" of the COVID pandemic.

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The IMF said the funds were aimed at helping its 'most vulnerable members' in dealing with the COVID pandemic

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Monday its executive board has granted a fifth and final round of debt relief for 25 low-income countries.

The funds are intended to help some of the world's most vulnerable countries tackle the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The extension of relief until April 13 next year means an additional $115 million (€102 million) will be made available. The program has benefited the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, and Tajikistan.

Almost $1 billion in debt relief

The tranche completes the two-year pandemic-related debt service first approved in April 2020, providing roughly $964 million in relief to eligible countries.

In a statement, the IMF said the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) funding helps the crisis lender's "poorest and most vulnerable members to free up resources to tackle the pandemic and its repercussions." 

The IMF also said the donations received from members supporting the program so far only covered 60% of its target. Despite overspending running the risk to "potentially limit the CCRT's capacity to provide relief in future emergencies," the directors agreed to continue spending as planned because of the "continuing human and economic toll of the pandemic." 

The CCRT enables the IMF — an organization of 190 countries — to free up funds for the poorest and most vulnerable countries hit by a natural disaster or public health crisis. 

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jsi/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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