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IMF Emergency Assistance to Africa on COVID-19: Finance, Debt-Relief and Policy Reforms

June 2, 2020




Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, many low-income countries (LICs), and mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), were already at risk of debt distress. The slump in global commodity prices pushed more SSA commodity exporting countries into further risk of a debt crisis. And the outbreak of COVID-19, with the associated demand and supply shocks, has restricted trade and reduced revenues available to governments, thereby threatening to reverse the region’s recent development and policy gains. In this talk, Abebe Selassie, director of the International Monetary Fund’s African Department, will talk about the Fund’s assistance to African countries including immediate debt service relief for 25 eligible LICs, finance from the Catastrophic Containment Relief Trust, and advice on policy reforms.

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    Abebe Selassie


    Abebe Aemro Selassie is the Director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a position he has held since 2016. In this capacity, he oversees the IMF’s operations and engagement with 45 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, spanning the three main pillars of IMF work—policy advice, lending operations, and technical assistance. His responsibilities also include building strategic partnerships and dialogue with senior policymakers and institutions across the region. Before taking up his current position, Selassie gained extensive experience in a wide-ranging 22-year career at the IMF. He held various senior positions, including Deputy Director in the African Department, Mission Chief for Portugal and South Africa, Division Chief of the African Department’s Regional Studies Division, and the IMF’s Senior Resident Representative in Uganda. Before joining the IMF in 1994, he worked for the Government of Ethiopia and the Economist Intelligence Unit in London. He completed his graduate studies at the London School of Economics.


    Albert Zeufack


    Africa Region Chief Economist, World Bank


    Asad Alam


    Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa for the Equitable Growth, Finance and Institution, World Bank


    Roberta Gatti


    Chief Economist, Human Development Practice Group, World Bank


  • Place: Online
  • Date: Tuesday June 2, 2020
  • Time: 12:30 - 2:00 PM (ET)