Why some COVID-19 affected African States are not on IMF debt relief list

Why some COVID-19 affected African States are not on IMF debt relief list

On 13th April 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced debt relief for a number of countries across the world citing the impact of COVID-19 on economies and livelihoods. The approved list comprised 25 countries across the globe out of which 19 are African nations.

The recipient African states of the IMF debt relief include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

However, some of Africa’s worst coronavirus hit countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Egypt or South Africa are not on the list. In the same vein, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Zambia or Kenya which are also highly indebted are not included as beneficiaries of the debt relief list. Why the exclusion and how?

In the official statement issued by Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director, she said that the debt relief package only applied to the poorest and most vulnerable members.  “Today, I am pleased to say that our Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF’s member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Georgieva observed.

From the point of the IMF, other African countries although hit by both Covid-19 and debt did not qualify to be recipients. The non-African countries that received that IMF debt relief are: Afghanistan, Haiti, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan and Yemen.

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