Over 100 countries requested emergency financing amid pandemic: IMF

Photo taken on Aug. 9, 2019 shows a view of the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., the United States. (Photo: Xinhua)

WASHINGTON, April 15 (Xinhua) -- International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that more than 100 countries have asked the multilateral lender for emergency financing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are responding to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency financing - from more than 100 countries," Georgieva said at a press conference for the virtual 2020 Spring Meetings, adding lending programs have already been approved at record speed for over 20 countries, with many more to come.

"We have just doubled access to our emergency facilities, which will allow us to meet the expected demand of about $100 billion in financing," she said.

Georgieva said the IMF executive board will be discussing a new short-term liquidity line for countries with strong economic fundamentals on Wednesday, but she did not provide specifics.

The IMF membership is also exploring additional tools to help meet countries' financing needs, including how to best use the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), according to Georgieva.

The IMF chief stressed that the international community must step up efforts to help the most vulnerable countries by providing increased funding as well as debt service relief, thereby creating space for spending on urgent health needs and mitigating the economic impact of the crisis.

"The reality is that anyone's fight against the virus is everyone's fight. More than ever, we need global solidarity, a common resolve, and coordinated international efforts," Georgieva said.

Georgieva's remarks came after the IMF said Tuesday in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report that the global economy is on track to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.