IMF approves debt relief for Haiti, other ‘poor’ countries

en catch a bag of rice as they unload a government food distribution, in a small section of the Delmas neighbourhood where over four feet of water flooded some homes during a deluge, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 18, 2019.

The Executive Board of Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved immediate debt relief to Haiti and 24 other countries.

Haiti was the lone Caribbean country to get immediate debt relief from the Washington-based financial institution.

The other countries receiving debt relief, primarily in Africa, are: Afghanistan; Benin; Burkina Faso; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Congo, D.R.; The Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Nepal; Niger; Rwanda; São Tomé and Príncipe; Sierra Leone; Solomon Island; Tajikistan; Togo; and Yemen.

“Today, I am pleased to say that our Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF’s member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, in a statement on Monday.

IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva

“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,” she added.

Georgieva said that the CCRT can currently provide about US$500 million in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent US$185 million pledge by the United Kingdom and US$100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources. She said others, including China and the Netherlands, are “also stepping forward with important contributions”.