WASHINGTON / DUBAI (Reuters) – Finance officials from the Group of 20 leading economies called on all creditors for the full implementation of the freeze on official bilateral debt service payments for the poorest countries but declined to extend the initiative to next year.
Sources familiar with the results of the G20 meeting said that there is strong support to extend the freeze of payments beyond the end of 2020 in light of the economic repercussions of the Corona virus epidemic, but the group’s final statement was enough to indicate that the issue was discussed in the second half of this year.
The statement also did not address increasing calls to cancel the debts of some of the poorest countries and not be satisfied with delaying them.
The initiative, approved by the group’s ministers in April, proved difficult to implement after only 42 of 73 countries expressed interest, only $ 5.3 billion in debt service payments would be made, instead of the $ 12 billion initially pledged.
World Bank officials singled out the comment by China, a member of the Group of Twenty and the largest creditor of developing countries, debts owed to its development companies and other state-owned companies.
World Bank President David Malpas told the group’s officials on Saturday that they needed to open the way for talks to cut total debt accumulated for the poorest countries.
Group officials said that creditors “should implement this initiative fully and transparently”.
The statement said that decisions to extend the freeze will be issued after the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank complete a report on countries ’liquidity needs before the group’s financial officials’ next meeting in October.