The richest countries in the world have agreed to freeze the debt obligations of poorer nations in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This follows a joint appeal from nearly 20 European and African leaders for a massive international effort to boost Africa’s COVID-19 response.

Finance ministers of the G-20 group of major economies subsequently agreed to put on hold any obligations by poor nations to service debts they owe.

The move is geared towards helping poorer nations focus their spending to assist the vulnerable in society as well as manage the fallout of the pandemic.

To this end, the world’s richest nations have temporarily suspended all debt payments, public and private, owed by poorer nations until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

The G-20 includes countries like the U.S., China, India, Russia, France, Turkey, South Africa and the U.K.

Although the specific countries to benefit were not mentioned, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said 76 countries were eligible for the moratorium.

These, he said, include about 40 sub-Saharan African countries, adding that over $20 billion worth of debt payments will be suspended.

In a joint statement, the World Bank Group President David Malpass and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, said freezing the debts of poorer countries “will do much to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of millions of the most vulnerable people.”

Meanwhile, Ghana’s total Coronavirus case count has sharply risen to 641, as of April 16, 2020.

The country has, however, recorded 83 recoveries and eight deaths so far, the Ghana Health Service announced. Pulse Ghana

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