Over 300 lawmakers from around the world on Wednesday urged the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to cancel the debt of the poorest countries in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and to boost funding to avert a global economic meltdown.
The initiative, led by former U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilham Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, comes amid growing concern that developing countries and emerging economies will be devastated by the pandemic.
The virus has infected more than 4.2 million people globally and killed 287,349, a Reuters tally showed.
Widespread shutdowns aimed at containing the virus are taking a huge toll on the global economy, and especially poor countries with weak health systems, high debt levels and few resources to manage the dual health and economic crises.
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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday said the Fund was “very likely” to revise downward its forecast that global output would shrink by 3% in 2020, and said developing countries would need more than $2.5 trillion in financing to weather the storm.
Sanders said poor countries needed every cent to care for their people,