The finance ministers of the G20 countries have decided to extend the moratorium on debt service in the poorest countries by six months (until June), which has already given 46 countries out of 73 the right to suspend a global repayment amount estimated at five billion dollars. The moratorium was expected, although the IMF and the World Bank, as well as a number of NGOs fighting poverty, this gesture is still insufficient given the needs of poor countries.
An extension of the moratorium was expected. But many were hoping for a stronger gesture from the 20 richest economies on the planet. NGOs like One or Oxfam asked for a grace period or even two years.
The G20 also came together to create a “common framework” for all private and public creditors to initiate a comprehensive debt restructuring process. A sign that countries like China are starting to respond to urgent calls from the IMF and the World Bank.
As the largest creditor in Africa and developing countries, China has so far been reluctant to participate in the global debt relief movement. As for private creditors, they have not shot an inch yet.
But time is running out, according to the French director of NGO One, former Socialist Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. We need to act faster and stronger, according to her. It has been estimated that if nothing changes in the coming months, it is tens of billions of dollars that poor countries will continue to repay their creditors and that they could not devote themselves to helping their populations.