- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund issued a joint plea to the world’s major powers and lending institutions to give poorer nations a break as they struggle with collapsing economic activity and public health crises due to the coronavirus global outbreak.

Economists warn that low-income countries could face an even greater financial and human toll from the virus, given their relatively weak public health systems and lack of access to funds and medical expertise.

The joint World Bank/IMF appeal Tuesday called on all “official bilateral creditors” to suspend debt repayments demands for poorer countries that request more time to meet their loan payments.

“The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for [heavily indebted countries],” the two global financial bodies said in a joint statement to the Group of 20 nations, noting those countries are “home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty.”

“The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets,” the two organizations said.

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