IMF body, chaired by SA’s Kganyago, wants funding help for coronavirus-hit countries

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Markets took a knock on coronavirus fears. (Photo: iStock)
Markets took a knock on coronavirus fears. (Photo: iStock)

The International Monetary and Financial Committee has called on the IMF to use "all its available financing instruments" to help member countries hit by the coronavirus, according to a statement issued on Monday.

The IMFC held a teleconference call chaired by SA Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva on Monday to discuss the impact of the virus.

"The IMF’s 189 member countries stand united to address the global challenges related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and we extend our sympathies to all those affected," the statement said.

"The economic and financial impact has also been felt globally, creating uncertainty and damaging near-term prospects. We are determined to provide the necessary support to mitigate the impact, especially on the most vulnerable people and countries."

It wants the IMF to pull together financial resources to assist those struck by the virus, it added.

"We have called upon the IMF to use all its available financing instruments to help member countries in need. We are confident that, working together, we will overcome the challenge facing us and restore growth and prosperity for all."

Africa has thus far registered two cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus. However, worldwide, the number has risen to over 90 000 cases, with over 3 100 deaths.

Top finance officials from the Group of Seven nations have already said that they will use "all appropriate policy tools" to mitigate economic damage from the outbreak, AFP reported earlier in the week.

According to the World Economic Forum, China's economic growth is expected to slow to 4.5% in the first quarter of 2020, its slowest since the global financial crisis of 2008. The OECD, meanwhile, has warned that the virus presents the biggest danger to the global economy since then.

It has been estimated that the virus could cost the global economy some $22 billion in the tourism sector alone.

* Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe

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