US$11b debt moratorium not enough, says UN body

World | 3 Jun 2020 11:14 am

The president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council is calling for urgent action to help the growing number of countries already facing or at risk of "debt distress'' because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Norway's U.N. Ambassador Mona Juul, head of the 54-nation U.N. body, told a meeting Tuesday on financing for the coronavirus crisis and recovery that the decision by the world's 20 major economic powers to freeze debt service payments for the world's poorest countries through the end of the year isn't enough.
She said the Group of 20's suspension will free about US$11 billion until the end of the year, but it's estimated that eligible countries have an additional US$20 billion in multilateral and commercial debt combined coming due this year.
Juul said that means even if the moratorium is extended to 2021, "many countries will have to make difficult choices between servicing their debt, fighting the pandemic, and investing in recovery.''-AP


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