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International Monetary Fund
This paper proposes that the Executive Board determine that the global COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a Qualifying Public Health Disaster (QPHD) under the Catastrophe Containment (CC) Window of the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), in line with the new QPHD test approved by the Board on March 26. The CCRT has sufficient financial resources for an initial tranche of grant assistance for debt service relief covering eligible debt falling due from all CCRT-eligible members through October 13, 2020. Fundraising efforts continue to secure the financial resources needed to commit future such tranches for CCRT debt service relief, up to a cap of two years. Staff considers that the 25 members requesting CCRT assistance qualify for immediate CCRT relief.
International Monetary Fund
In direct response to the COVID-19 crisis the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board has adopted some immediate enhancements to its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to enable the Fund to provide debt service relief for its poorest and most vulnerable members. The CCRT enables the IMF to deliver grants for debt relief benefiting eligible low-income countries in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters and major, fast-spreading public health emergencies.
International Monetary Fund
Global growth remains strong. The recovery has created jobs and increased incomes. But growth momentum is moderating. Previously identified risks have partly materialized or have become more pronounced. A rapid reversal in financial market conditions, ten years after the global financial crisis, could again expose debt vulnerabilities at a time when many countries have more limited policy space. The window of opportunity to guard against risks and raise medium-term growth prospects is narrowing. Now is the time for policymakers to act to rebuild policy space, strengthen resilience, and implement structural reforms for the benefit of all. Waning support for multilateralism is fueling policy uncertainty. However, improved global cooperation is precisely what is needed to boost inclusive growth by modernizing the trade system, reducing excess global imbalances, improving debt dynamics, and leveraging technology. We will continue to review our policies and strategies to enhance Fund advice and support multilateralism. This includes surveillance, program conditionality, capacity development, debt limits, and anti-money laundering and the combatting of terrorism financing.
International Monetary Fund
The HIPC Initiative and MDRI are nearly complete with 35 countries having already reached the completion point under the HIPC Initiative. One country, Chad, remains in the interim phase. Debt relief under the Initiatives has substantially alleviated debt burdens in recipient countries and has enabled them to increase their poverty-reducing expenditure by two and a half percentage points between 2001 and 2013. Creditor participation in the Initiative has been strong amongst the multilateral and Paris Club creditors; however participation from the other creditor groups still needs to be strengthened. The total cost of debt relief to creditors under the HIPC Initiative is currently estimated to be US$75.0 billion, while the costs to the four multilateral creditors providing relief under the MDRI is estimated to be US$41.1 billion in end-2013 present value terms.
International Monetary Fund
New commitments under PRGT-supported programs amounted to SDR 0.15 billion in 2013, while disbursements on existing arrangements amounted to about SDR 0.8 billion. However, this lower demand is expected to be temporary. New commitments are projected to rebound to about SDR 1.5 billion in 2014, similar to the level observed in 2012. These projections are subject to considerable uncertainty regarding progress on ongoing program negotiations.
International Monetary Fund
New commitments under programs supported by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) amounted to SDR 0.6 billion during the first nine months of 2014, and disbursements on existing arrangements amounted to about SDR 0.3 billion through end-August. While this level of demand is low by historical standards, new commitments for 2014 as a whole could still exceed SDR 1 billion. These projections are, however, subject to considerable uncertainty regarding progress with ongoing program negotiations.
International Monetary Fund
This review examines the experience with the policy on debt limits in Fund-supported programs across the membership and proposes possible reforms to strengthen the policy. The policy was last reformed in 2009 with a view to adapting it to the changing circumstances in low-income countries (LICs). Given its primary focus on LICs, the reform left the policy applying to the rest of the membership broadly unchanged. The Fund’s debt limits policy has been in place since the 1960s. From the policy’s inception, concessional flows have been excluded from debt limits under the presumption that such financing was critical for LICs and posed only limited risks to debt sustainability. Over time, the exclusion of concessional flows has led to a bifurcation in the policy, with one branch focusing on members to whom concessional financing is normally available, and the other on those to whom it is not—a distinction which in practical terms has involved differentiating between LICs and non-LICs.
International Monetary Fund
This section provides the background studies relating to dimensions of Fund policy on conditionality. Appendix 1 provides a review of Fund experience with coordination, both in a low-income country (LIC) setting (in African programs) and in an emerging market and advanced economy setting in the European Union (EU) and Euro Area (EA). Appendix 2 summarizes the recent changes to debt limits in LICs and provides an assessment of the implementation of this policy in the early stages (up to mid-February 2011). Appendix 3 reviews the experience of countries with the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and Precautionary Credit Line (PCL)-supported programs. Appendix 4 examines the impact of the 2009 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation on program design
International Monetary Fund
This report provides an update on the status of implementation, impact, and costs of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Debt relief provided under the Initiatives has substantially alleviated debt burdens in recipient countries. Through the continued use by IDA and the Fund of the flexibility available in the framework governing the HIPC Initiative and the MDRI, significant progress has been achieved under the Initiatives since the last report.
International Monetary Fund
We cannot allow the return of economic stability to signify a return to "business as usual" for the IMF. The crisis exposed huge cracks in the international financial architecture of which the Fund is a key part. We have an historic responsibility to fix them. I urge all of us to recommit to seeing our collective goals to the finish line before reform fatigue sets in.