World Bank head praises G20 over debt moratorium | News | DW | 19.05.2020
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World Bank head praises G20 over debt moratorium

World Bank President David Malpass has praised the G20 for putting the poorest countries' debt repayments on ice amid the pandemic. He called on private creditors to show a similar willingness to help.

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Malpass: Combination of factors threatens developing countries

World Bank chief David Malpass praised G20 for their decision to impose a debt moratorium until the end of 2020. Speaking to DW on Tuesday, Malpass urged private creditors to follow the example set by the world's most industrialized nations and consider freezing repayments on their loans to the developing world. 

He also said that canceling debt altogether was something national leaders might one day discuss, "depending on the extent of the crisis and how long it goes on." 

"It is possible that the moratorium would be extended or would became cancellation for the countries that are participating in it," he said.

Read more:  Just how helpful is the IMF's debt relief?

Supplies for responders

As a part of its coronavirus response, the World Bank launched a massive emergency aid program that has so far reached 100 developing countries. Some of the funds would be used to buy "personal protective equipment, things that can help front-line health care providers," according to Malpass, while others would be aiming to keep businesses above water.

Economists fear that the pandemic could push up to 60 million people into extreme poverty around the world. The global lockdown, Malpass warned, "shut down a critical source of sustenance for the poorest countries" by cutting the flow of remittances and isolating them from the buyers and tourists in the more developed world.

Read more:  World Bank says lending to China to drop

In addition to economic troubles and the COVID-19 risk, the pandemic fallout is also causing other health problems to escalate in poorer nations, Malpass said.

The countries helped by the World Bank's emergency anti-pandemic measures are home to roughly 70% of the global population. The bank says its aims are to support the poorest households and improve livelihoods for people bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic. In addition to procuring medical equipment and supplies and aiding businesses, the program is also directed towards boosting healthcare and social protection.

Malpass took up his current role at the World Bank last April, the economist previously held roles in the administrations of US Presidents Donald Trump, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

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