The G20 decision was taken at a virtual meeting chaired by Saudi Arabia. Countries that have applied for this option will not have to repay their debts until June 30. Ph: AFP
The G20 announced Wednesday, during a virtual meeting chaired by Saudi Arabia, a six-month extension until June 30 of the moratorium on the debt of the poorest countries hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 have agreed to extend the initiative to suspend the debt service of the most vulnerable countries by six months to support their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”, announced the group on Twitter.
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jaadan confirmed the decision in a virtual press conference after the meeting.
In its final statement, the meeting clarified that the extension runs until June 30 and could be extended until the end of 2021 at a meeting next spring of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The world’s 20 largest economies had promised in April a suspension for 2020 of the debt service of poor countries, particularly affected by the health crisis.
The World Bank, international organizations and activists have called for this measure to be extended into 2021, and even into 2022 for the NGO Oxfam.
To date, 46 of the 73 poorest countries have applied to benefit from this initiative, most of them in Africa.
But the initiative only covered “1.66%” of debt payments from poor countries this year, lamented the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), according to which “it had an impact very limited due to the reluctance of private and multilateral lenders to participate ”.
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