July 18, 2020 / 4:16 PM / 17 days ago

IMF exploring additional tools to provide aid to pandemic-hit countries

FILE PHOTO: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a news conference in Rabat, Morocco, February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is exploring additional tools to provide financing to the world’s poorest countries and others hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Saturday.

Georgieva told finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 major economies that they should consider extending a freeze in official bilateral debt service payments offered to the poorest countries beyond the end of the year, and work to promote greater private-sector participation.

Beyond that, she said there is a need to think about “more comprehensive debt relief for many countries,” given the severity of the crisis and the high debt levels already in place before the current crisis.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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