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ONE Campaign reacts to World Bank Annual Meeting

WASHINGTON — In response to today’s announcement by the World Bank that it will consider issuing a supplemental of emergency COVID-19 relief, The ONE Campaign released the below statement on the Bank’s decision to not suspend debt service payments for the world’s poorest countries — a critical tool that could help the world’s most vulnerable respond to the pandemic.

Gayle Smith, President and CEO of the ONE Campaign, said:

“Accelerating the flow of funds to the world’s poorest countries is a great move and can reduce the collateral impact of the pandemic in key sectors such as health and education, but the poorest countries also urgently need the liquidity that debt service suspension provides.”

“By failing to suspend debt service payments, the World Bank is taking a tool off the table at a time when the world’s poorest countries – just like wealthier nations – need to stabilise their economies and respond to the pandemic.”

The World Bank meetings followed an announcement by the G20 earlier this week that it would extend the suspension of bilateral debt service repayments until the end of June 2021.

Reflecting on the past week as the G20 and the Annual Meetings draw to a close, Smith continued: “Rich countries are understandably ripping up the economic rule book to counter the economic shock triggered by the pandemic.  

“Poor countries need the same flexibility and given the risk – and cost – of economic crisis and default, this is a double standard that the world can’t afford.”

Notes to Editors
Over the next 15 months, as a result of the slow progress made on debt service suspension, the latest analysis from ONE reveals the world’s poorest countries will have to pay a total of $42 billion in debt service payments to international creditors.

  • $7.96 billion to bilateral creditors if the bilateral debt service standstill is not extended through the second half of 2021
  • $18.2 billion to the multilateral banks unless they sign on to a debt service standstill; and
  • $15.8 billion to private and non-official creditors who have yet to support a debt service standstill

ONE is a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, so that everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity. We are non-partisan and pressure governments to do more to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, and empower citizens to hold their governments to account. Read more at www.one.org.