The World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund have issued a joint statement to the G20 calling for debt relief for the poorest countries as the world is battling to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for IDA countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty.
The IDA (International Development Association) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world's poorest countries.
In the statement, the WB Group and the IMF are urging all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance.
"This will help with IDA countries’ immediate liquidity needs to tackle challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak and allow time for an assessment of the crisis impact and financing needs for each country," the statement said.
"We invite G20 leaders to task the WBG and the IMF to make these assessments, including identifying the countries with unsustainable debt situations, and to prepare a proposal for comprehensive action by official bilateral creditors to address both the financing and debt relief needs of IDA countries. We will seek endorsement for the Proposal at the Development Committee during the Spring Meetings (April 16–17)."
The number of confirmed cases of people with coronavirus across the world has surpassed 472,000, over 21,000 people have died, while more than 114,000 have recovered, according to information provided by international research groups.