PARIS (Reuters) – France will seek a debt moratorium for the poorest countries as part of a package of measures to help them cope with the coronavirus crisis, France’s finance minister said on Tuesday.
Bruno Le Maire said he would call for “massive and immediate aid” for developing countries when finance ministers from Group of 20 economic powers hold a conference call later on Tuesday.
Le Maire said he would call for an increase in special drawing rights (SDRs), the currency of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and special credit lines to complement swap lines between central banks.
“We will also call for a moratorium on the debt of the most fragile countries,” Le Maire told journalists, offering to coordinate such an initiative internationally.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told Reuters on Friday that emerging markets will likely need more than $2.5 trillion in resources to see them through the crisis, although some of this will come from their internal reserves, and some from domestic borrowing markets.
Le Maire urged his G20 counterparts to decide during their call to increase SDRs by $500 billion, back the creation of new short-term IMF credit lines and doubling its emergency lending facilities for developing countries.
“We need to prepare our response now to an economic crisis that can be extremely violent for developing countries,” Le Maire said.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)