Changing priorities

IMF chief looks to strengthen ‘financial safety net’ for Africa

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on January 16, 2023 09:41

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva
IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva

Protecting debt-laden African countries from painful cuts to social services is top of mind for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund heading into the new year, the IMF chief told reporters in Washington.

With climate change exacerbating the rise of poverty and hunger after three decades of progress, both institutions are rethinking their tools and priorities, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at a 12 January roundtable with journalists, laying out the outlook for 2023. Helping Africa get back on track will be a key focus at a meeting of African creditors next month and at the international financial institutions’ spring meetings in Washington in April.

“For countries that are suffering with the tremendous burden of debt they cannot possibly serve, debt translates into reducing social services to their own people, and that is not a choice they should be faced with,” said Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist who is the first person from a developing country to lead the fund.

“How can we help? Well, Number One, provide more liquidity so they can have the capacity to fund

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