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July 8, 2020 World Leaders Meet To Tackle COVID Debt And Development Crises

WASHINGTON - The G20 and Paris Forum convened a global virtual High-Level Ministerial conference for 39 countries focused on the economic, debt and development impacts of the coronavirus.

"The meeting offered recommendations to the G20 as it tries to build consensus on next steps for dealing with the coronavirus economic impacts," noted Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "G20 Finance Ministers meet next week and will move forward decisions on debt relief and development aid for developing countries."

In April, the G20 moved forward a plan to suspend debt payments for 73 of the world's poorest countries. 41 of the 73 countries are accepting the relief.

"Next week's G20 meeting will focus on extending the debt payment suspension into 2021," said LeCompte. "While suspending the debt payments generate billions of dollars for poor countries to deal with the coronavirus, the G20 plan still faces challenges. Not all G20 countries are fully participating and the private sector and commercial banks won't commit to join in debt relief measures. We also have the whole category of developing Middle Income Countries who are left out of debt relief plans."

The July 8th, High-Level Ministerial Conference, "Tackling the COVID-19 Crisis, Restoring Sustainable Capital Flows and Robust Financing for Development," included speeches from the heads of the IMF and World Bank. The World Bank's David Malpass called on China's Development Bank to join the debt suspension and he noted that some countries will need debts permanently reduced. Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the IMF, urged world leaders to start to look more closely at the challenges that Middle Income Countries like tourism dependent small island states face.

"The coronavirus crisis is destroying livelihoods and economies," noted LeCompte. "Expanding and increasing debt relief so people can survive the economic and health impacts of the crisis is essential for the developing world."

See the conference agenda here.

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