A total of 103 countries have approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency financing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IMF’s Chairperson and Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said on Monday.
Georgieva added, “Our Executive Board will have considered about half of these requests by the end of the month.”
In a blog-post published by the IMF, Georgieva said that world governments have taken unprecedented action to save lives and fight the pandemic. The emergency measures were taken to protect communities and economies, with global fiscal measures so far amounting to about $8trn.
Central banks across the world have also undertaken massive liquidity injections to keep economies afloat.
The IMF has doubled its emergency, rapid-disbursing capacity to meet the expected demand of about $100bn, Georgieva wrote.
She also noted, “We expect global economic activity to decline on a scale that the world hasn’t seen since the Great Depression.”
This year, 170 countries will see income per capita go down, Georgieva said. She added that, only months ago, the IMF was projecting 160 economies to register positive per capita income growth.
Exceptional times call for exceptional action, she said, and there has in many ways been a ‘response like no other’ from the IMF’s membership. The fund has a $1tn lending capacity, four times more than at the outset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, which is spread across 189 countries.
Additionally, the IMF’s policy advice will need to adapt to the evolving realities and help lay the foundations for a strong recovery, Georgieva said.
“We need to have a better understanding of the specific challenges, risks, and tradeoffs facing every country as they gradually restart their economies,” Georgieva added.
In the new post-COVID-19 world, countries simply cannot take social cohesion for granted. This accounts for the IMF needing to support individual countries’ efforts in enhancing social policies reducing inequality, protect vulnerable people, and promote access to opportunities for all, she said.