WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Reuters) – The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund has approved a $ 124 million extension of IMF debt relief to 24 low-income countries through Jan. 10, 2022, announced Friday the Fund.

Approval of a fourth tranche of debt relief from the IMF’s Containment and Disaster Relief Trust brings the total relief offered since April 2020 to around $ 973 million, the IMF said. This decision effectively suspends the debt service of eligible countries on their debts with the IMF for the next three months.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the IMF launched an effort to raise $ 1.4 billion in grants for the disaster trust to alleviate debt. So far, donors, including Britain, Japan, Germany and other European and Asian countries, have so far pledged some $ 860 million for the effort.

The Board agreed that Kyrgyzstan and Lesotho qualified for debt service relief and included them in the fourth tranche.

The statement released Friday did not name all the countries that will benefit from IMF debt relief in the latest round, but noted that Afghanistan will not be included as the Fund has suspended engagement with the Taliban government. who took control of the country in August.

Previous statements have named the following beneficiaries of IMF debt relief: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar , Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen. (Report by David Lawder Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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