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Statement April 15, 2020

World Bank Group President David Malpass: Remarks to G20 Finance Ministers

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2020—World Bank Group President David Malpass today issued his remarks from the G20 finance ministers’ virtual meeting:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The World Bank Group has been focused on taking fast, broad-based action, especially for the poorest countries. By the end of April, we expect to have Covid-related projects in 100 countries, and we are taking steps to provide $160 billion of financing over the next 15 months.  We thank you for the capital and funding you provide for IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA, and we invite your early subscriptions.

Our goals are to:

  • help developing countries implement emergency health operations;
  • protect the poorest households;
  • save jobs and businesses. IFC and MIGA are working with private sector clients to support trade and working capital lines.

All of this will shorten the time to broad based, sustainable economic recovery.

The other MDBs have committed to roughly $80 billion over this period, bringing the total to $240 billion.   We’ve been coordinating closely in order to act efficiently and achieve impact at scale. We invite your bilateral assistance programs and the other MDBs to join us through parallel and co-financing of our 100 emergency programs, and to take advantage of WB-facilitated joint procurement of medical equipment and supplies.

I strongly welcome the G20 efforts to allow the IDA countries to suspend repayment of official bilateral credit on May 1st. Commercial creditors would be expected to provide comparable treatment. In turn, beneficiary countries would commit to use the additional resources to respond to COVID-19; and to fully disclose their public sector financial commitments.  The World Bank and IMF are being asked to analyze and report on the liquidity needs of eligible countries and monitor their use of the fiscal space created by the debt relief.

This is a powerful, fast-acting initiative that will bring real benefits to the poor.    

Multilateral development banks are being asked to further explore options for suspending our debt service payments, while maintaining our credit rating.  Kristalina and I met with MDB heads yesterday to discuss this and our coordinated support efforts. They unanimously asked me to register our requirement to maintain credit-worthiness and our concern that suspending repayments to MDBs, if not fully compensated by new shareholder contributions, would run the risk of hurting the poor in both the short-term, by reducing our ability to front-load assistance, and in the long-term, by reducing our leveraging capacity.

The World Bank and IMF will do everything possible to support the debt initiative. Kristalina and I championed it, and we’re committed to taking all possible steps to support to the poor.   The World Bank will be providing massively scaled up and frontloaded net transfers to IDA countries on highly concessional terms -- over $50 billion of financing over the next 15 months – and the IMF has its own highly impactful initiatives.  

The Development Committee, including its many representatives from the poorest countries, will discuss the various support initiatives on Friday.  I know we will thank Saudi Arabia for strongly leading the debt relief efforts during its chairmanship of the G20 and will thank all the creditors for their efforts.  

I am certain that substantial progress on debt has been made this week; also, that our fast action to provide support during the crisis will help during the downturn and strengthen the recovery.  Thank you."


David Theis
(202) 458-8626