IMF's chief raises emergency lending to $100 billion in response to coronavirus
- The International Monetary Fund raised its emergency lending facilities, allowing it to meet an expected demand of $100 billion in financing.
- Emergency lending has already been sanctioned at record speed for the Kyrgyz Republic, Rwanda, Madagascar and Togo, with "many more to come".
- More than 90 countries requested aid from the IMF since the coronavirus escalated around the globe in recent weeks.
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The IMF is raising its emergency lending capacity to $100 billion in response to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency financing from over 90 countries.
IMF's managing director Kristalina Georgieva made the announcement on Thursday. She disclosed that the institution projects negative per capita income - the average income earned per person - growth for over 170 countries this year.
Making the announcement ahead of the World Bank's spring meetings, which will transition to a virtual format this year, Georgieva said emergency funding has already been sanctioned at record speed for the Kyrgyz Republic, Rwanda, Madagascar and Togo.
Georgieva, who became managing director in October 2019, made clear that there is no question that 2020 will be "exceptionally difficult."
"If the pandemic fades in the second half of the year-thus allowing a gradual lifting of containment measures and reopening of the economy-our baseline assumption is for a partial recovery in 2021. But again, I stress there is tremendous uncertainty around the outlook: it could get worse depending on many variable factors, including the duration of the pandemic."
She cautioned that the economic crisis is expected to hit vulnerable countries hardest.
"Emerging markets and low-income nations - across Africa, Latin America, and much of Asia - are at high risk," the IMF chief expressed, while pointing out that social distancing is hardly an option in densely populated cities and poverty-stricken slums.
Her speech on Thursday laid out several steps she said countries should adopt in the fight against the virus. These include essential containment measures, shielding people and firms with targeted fiscal measures, reducing stress to the financial system, avoiding contagion and planning for recovery.
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