G20 needs to deliver $650 bln IMF boost, extend debt relief – campaigners

PUBLISHED: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 16:08:34 GMT

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – The 20 biggest economies need to back a $650 billion boost to the International Monetary Fund’s currency, reallocate existing reserves and extend debt payment relief to the poorest nations, former policymakers and poverty campaigners said.

The letter also urged G20 nations, whose finance chiefs are meeting on Friday, to fully fund the World Health Organization’s “ACT Accelerator” programme to back vaccines, treatments and diagnostics against COVID-19 for poorer countries.

“If we do not take these steps urgently the developing and emerging economies face a disastrous lost decade with deep consequences for us all across the G20 nations,” said Jamie Drummond, co-founder of the ONE Campaign and one of the authors of the letter. “Actions can start at tomorrow’s meeting.”

Signed by the likes of South Africa’s former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and ABSA ex-CEO Maria Ramos, the letter is addressed to Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, whose country holds the G20 Presidency.

The authors suggest an extension of debt payment relief for poor countries through 2022 and broadening it to include more debtors and creditors. The G20 group is expected to extend its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for poorest countries until the end of the year.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said she supported a new allocation of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights currency, but said broad parameters were needed to boost transparency on how the reserves are used and traded.

The IMF last issued new currency reserves of $250 billion in 2009, as economies around the world battled the global financial crisis. (Reporting by Karin Strohecker; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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