As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it is expected to provide an emergency fund of around $25 billion for 70 countries.
Media sources said that spokesperson Gerry Rice said at a virtual press briefing that “We expect that number to be 70, so 70 countries supported by the IMF with emergency financing roughly about $25 billion.”
“This emergency financing is very fast-disbursing, countries receive the money within days, it does not carry traditional IMF conditionality,”
“It is money to be spent on paying for things like nurses’ and doctors’ salaries, and equipment, and medical equipment to deal with the crisis.”
Seven countries have received emergency funding totaling around $1.5 billion for the Asia and Pacific region, Rice said.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 28 countries have received nearly $ 10 billion in emergency funding, Rice said, noting that the figure is much higher than the region’s average annual lending of $1 billion to the IMF.
More than 100 countries have sought emergency financing from the IMF in the midst of the pandemic, and earlier this year the IMF said it had doubled access to its emergency facilities to meet expected demand.
IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said the pandemic-triggered financial crisis is more global and playing out differently than previous crises, with services hit harder than building in both advanced and emerging market economies, and low overall inflation.
He added that in many countries there were signs of early recovery that were reopening their economies, but new waves of coronavirus infections and re-imposed lockdown measures still feigned risks.
Gopinath said the longer-term impact on tourism-dependent economies is a particular concern and governments should pursue policies to redeploy workers from shrinking sectors to those with stronger prospects.