G20 agrees to extend debt relief for poor countries by 6 more months

Xinhua , Thursday 15 Oct 2020

During the meeting G20 finance ministers and central banker expressed commitment to continue working together to support the poorest countries to weather the COVID-19 crisis

 G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
Family Photo for G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in their virtual meeting on Wednesday 14 October, 2020 (Photo: courtsey of G20 official website)

The Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bankers agreed late on Wednesday at a meeting to extend debt suspension for poor countries to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis by a further six months until June 2021.

During the virtual meeting, the ministers and governors expressed commitment to continue working together to support the poorest countries as they address health, social and economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a communique by the Saudi G20 Presidency.

"In light of the continued liquidity pressure, while progressively addressing debt vulnerabilities, we agreed to extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) by 6 months," the communique said, adding that it could be further extended until the end of 2021 when the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meet next spring.

The official communique also said G20 nations were "disappointed" with the response from the private sector on debt relief, and "strongly encourage" them to participate in the DSSI.

"Our collective efforts to maximize international assistance to countries in need is further complemented by multilateral development banks' commitment of 75 billion US dollars to DSSI-eligible countries, part of their 230 billion US dollars' commitment to emerging and low-income countries, as a response to the pandemic," Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said at a press conference after the meeting.

The G20 remains committed to implementing the DSSI, allowing the poorest countries to suspend official bilateral debt-service payments and secure additional much-needed resources for targeted investments, al-Jadaan added.

The G20 nations endorsed in April the DSSI to help the poorest countries manage the impact of the pandemic, allowing them to suspend payments on official bilateral debt until the end of 2020.

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