G20 nations will consider extending debt relief for coronavirus-hit poor countries in the second half of 2020, the group’s finance ministers and central bankers said after talks aimed at spurring global economic recovery.

The 20 most industrialised nations announced a one-year debt standstill for the world’s poorest nations in April, but campaigners have criticised the measure as grossly inadequate to stave off the knock-on effects of the pandemic.

World Bank president David Malpass called for the debt suspension initiative to be extended through the end of 2021, while multiple charities including Oxfam said it needs to be stretched through 2022 to avert a “catastrophe for hundreds of millions of people”.

In their final statement after the virtual talks hosted by Riyadh, G20 ministers and bankers said they would “consider a possible extension of the (debt suspension initiative) in the second half of 2020”.

So far, 42 countries have applied for the initiative, asking for a cumulative $5.3bn in debt to be deferred, the statement said.

Source: Aljazeera

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