The International Monetary Fund will provide immediate debt service relief to 25 member countries under its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to allow them to focus their scarce resources on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Monday. Afghanistan is also among those countries.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in a statement said the Fund’s executive board on Monday approved the first batch of countries to receive grants to cover their debt service obligations to the Fund for an initial six months.
She said the CCRT currently had about $500 million in resources, including new pledges of $185 million from Britain, $100 million from Japan, and undisclosed amounts from China, the Netherlands and others. The fund is pushing to raise the amount available to $1.4 billion.
About $215 million of the total would be used for grants to the first 25 countries over the next six months, with extensions possible up to two years, an IMF spokeswoman said.
“This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts,” Georgieva said in a statement.
She urged other donor countries to help replenish the CCRT and boost the fund’s ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to its poorest member countries.