IMF Head: Ukraine War, Pandemic Worse, Debt, Food Security

IMF Head Raises Global Challenges Ahead of World Leader Meetings in "Curtain Raiser" Speech

The war in Ukraine will add to the pandemic crises that most countries are struggling with and lengthen the recovery in developing countries, said International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva. In her curtain-raiser speech, ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank meetings, she shared that the IMF projects more than 140 countries face worse prospects in the coming months.

“As incomes drop and the cost of living rises, poverty increases,” stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who has monitored IMF policies for more than a decade. “With the challenges of the pandemic, poverty increases and it will be harder to lift people out of poverty.”

Georgieva called for improvements to the G20 Common Framework – a debt restructuring process the group set up a year and a half ago. Up to 73 countries are eligible to seek relief but only three requested relief so far. Ethiopia, Zambia and Chad, who applied for the framework, have not yet received any debt reduction from the G20 process. More than 60% of developing low-income countries face debt crisis.

“If the tools for debt crisis resolution are not functioning, developing countries will delay requesting help from processes," noted LeCompte who is a United Nations finance expert.

In a separate statement today Georgieva shared calculations that for every percentage point that food prices go up, 10 million more people fall in poverty.

“The challenge of food insecurity and the potential for social unrest is a frightening part of the current IMF diagnosis.” added LeCompte.

View Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva's Spring IMF Meetings Curtain Raiser Speech here.