IMF Announces Coronavirus Debt Relief and Increased Lending Resources

Washington DC -  As the coronavirus continues to take lives and wreak havoc on health systems and the economy, the International Monetary Fund announced plans for debt relief for poor countries and increased lending resources for all countries. 

"Debt relief and aid to bolster health systems in developing countries is urgently needed," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte's organization sent a letter to the IMF on Monday urging debt relief, increased below market-rate lending and improving debt restructuring processes. "IMF efforts that start to offer debt relief to the poorest countries and that increase financing to help prevent a global financial crisis are really positive and needed steps."

On Friday, IMF leadership announced the news in a statement that was magnified in a press conference from IMF head Kristalina Georgieva. The Fund committed to doubling lending resources as 80 countries are requesting emergency financing. The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust is the debt relief mechanism that can offer debt relief and healthcare grants for poor countries. The mechanism was last used to relieve debt and deliver healthcare grants to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea during the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

"While increased debt relief resources are welcome, the relief and healthcare aid is only for the poorest countries. The IMF must ease debt relief restrictions so all developing countries can receive debt relief and healthcare grants," stated LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert who worked with the IMF, G20, US Treasury and White House to develop the Ebola debt relief mechanism.

Read the IMF's Press Conference Minutes here
Read Jubilee USA's Letter to the IMF on COVID-19 here