Finance ministers and central bank chiefs of G20 countries held a progress meeting this Saturday on their response to the Covid-19 crisis, announcing that they will soon decide on the extension of the countries' debt moratorium poor.
Faced with calls from NGOs but also from the World Bank to extend the moratorium decided in April until 2021, the representatives of the twenty largest world economies indicated in their final press release that they "would consider an extension " of the device in the next years. months, depending on " the evolution of the pandemic ". They will decide after receipt by October -date of their next meeting- " of the results of an IMF and World Bank report on the liquidity needs of eligible countries ", it is added in the text.
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French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire said at the end of the meeting that the G20 was " on track to obtain an agreement " on the extension of the moratorium, calling for a decision " as soon as possible " The G20 videoconference - chaired this year by Saudi Arabia - took place as the pandemic continues to strike everywhere, notably among several of its members such as the United States, Brazil, Mexico and India.
" If the outlook remains highly unpredictable (...), we expect that global economic activity will recover with the gradual reopening of our economies and thanks to the impact of the policies put in place (to support it) " , the ministers said in their statement. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the global economy, despite some signs of recovery, is facing headwinds, including the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic.
" The global economy is facing a deep recession this year, with a partial and uneven recovery expected in 2021, " warned its chief executive Kristalina Georgieva after the meeting, stressing that the pandemic could increase poverty and inequality.
Saturday's meeting presented the progress made since the announcement of a comprehensive action plan in April to deal with the pandemic, which includes the moratorium on debt service for the poorest countries, approved until the end 2020.
To date, 42 of the 73 poorest countries have asked to benefit from this initiative, the equivalent of 5.3 billion dollars suspended in the service of their debt, according to the press release. But these 73 countries have yet to reimburse up to $ 33.7 billion by the end of 2020, Oxfam, Christian Aid and Global Justice Now said in a report released Thursday.
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" G20 finance ministers have a mission to avert impending disaster for hundreds of millions of people, " said Chema Vera, acting executive director of Oxfam, calling for the G20 initiative to be " legally binding " until the end of 2022.