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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Twenty-two African countries to receive emergency aid from IMF

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Three Central African countries are among 28 of the world’s poorest countries that are expected to receive emergency aid approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF approved the aid this week for the countries, 22 of which are in Africa, to help them alleviate their debt and better cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the North Africa Post, this second six-month tranche of debt service relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) follows a similar measure passed in mid-April for 25 countries.

It is intended to help the countries cover their debt repayments to the IMF for the next six months from October to April 2021, and “free up scarce financial resources for vital emergency medical and other relief efforts” during the pandemic, the IMF said.

The 28 countries receiving the second tranche of aid are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo and Yemen.

Mali is also eligible for aid but has not yet been added to the list because “there is a lack of clarity as to whether the international community recognises/deals with the current military regime as the government of Mali,” the IMF said.

The debt relief is channeled through the CCRT, which enables the IMF to provide grants to the poorest and most vulnerable countries hit by a natural disaster or public health crisis.

Subject to sufficient resources in the trust, grants could be provided for a two-year period through mid-April 2022 for an estimated total amount of US$959 million.

The IMF said its goal was to endow the CCRT with $1.4 billion so that it could also meet future needs.

However, the fund said it had received grant pledges of just over one-third of the one billion SDR (Special Drawing Right) fundraising target, adding that available resources would need to be boosted to support the approval of future tranches.

The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves.

-African News Agency (ANA)

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