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Unprecedented support

Rute Coelho

Financial institutions and political organizations worldwide, such as the World Bank (BM), International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU) or G-20 have been launching billion dollar financing packages for the poorest countries to face the pandemic. It is unprecedented global support, designed to stem the advance of Covid-19 in countries where health systems are precarious and sanitary conditions are almost non-existent.

Acting on this principle, the BM, for example, currently has 2,673 financing projects underway worldwide, 1,028 of which are on the African continent, according to a map provided by the institution. Global support is extended to 132 countries on all continents.

After all, and according to data earlier this week, the coronavirus pandemic already translates into 1,669,595 confirmed cases worldwide and 106,138 deaths,

In the face of a global crisis of unique contours, the BM will make available a financial package worth US $ 160 billion over the next 15 months to “help countries to protect the poorest and most vulnerable, to support business and to boost the economic recovery “, as informed by the institution.

WB President David Malpass underlined that “the poorest and most vulnerable countries will be hardest hit” and that the institution “is taking global action quickly to slow Covid-19’s progress”, with “response operations underway health in more than 65 countries “.

The IMF and the BM made a joint call for debt debt forgiveness to the poorest countries, among which are Portuguese-speaking Africans Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe.

The BM Group and the IMF call on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from countries [covered by the] Association for International Development (IDA) that so request, “reads a joint statement. disseminated by the two international financial institutions.

IMF responds to calls

The IMF also has a global response that is unparalleled in its history.

“We have a billion dollars available for loans and we are going to put them at the service of our member states. We are responding to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency funding requests from over 90 countries so far. Our Board of Directors has already agreed to double access to our emergency programs, which will allow us to respond to requests totaling US $ 100 billion in financing, “communicated on 9 April the IMF director-general, Bulgarian Kristalina Gueorguieva.

The IMF approved emergency loans in record time for the Kyrgyz Republic, Rwanda, Madagascar and Togo, with many more still on the waiting line.

G20 injects billions

The leaders of the G20, a group of the 20 largest economies in the world, decided on March 26 to support the joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), the IMF and the BM to develop an economic package and strengthen global financial safety nets.

The unanimous response was one of concern about the risks that threaten all countries and the decision to inject “more than five billion dollars” into the world economy to “counter the social, economic and financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“We are firmly determined to present a united front against this common threat,” said the representatives, in a statement released after the extraordinary meeting by teleconference.

The World Economic Forum also created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to unite the global community of investors in a collective action to respond to the pandemic. It was created with the support of WHO and is open to all businessmen, economic and industrial groups.

Eurogroup approves package

European solidarity was put to the test again at the Eurogroup meeting, where EU finance ministers last week approved a € 540 billion package to combat the effects of the pandemic crisis.

After much parallel negotiation, the deal was sealed in just over half an hour, with applause to Mário Centeno, the Portuguese finance minister who chairs the Eurogroup.

The € 540 billion will be shared between three institutions. The European Commission is charged with ensuring job protection; the European Investment Bank for business support; and the European Stability Mechanism finances countries.

The mechanisms agreed by the Eurogroup are awaiting the leaders’ go-ahead to be available within two weeks. But unanimity will be difficult to achieve, because, meanwhile, criticism of the agreement is already raining down.

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