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Joint Press Briefing WHO/IMF with MD Georgieva

Release Date: 03 Apr 2020

IMF Managing Director warns of false trade-off: “Saving lives and protecting livelihoods go hand in hand”

On Friday, April 3, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, urged the world to come together to protect the most vulnerable from the unprecedented health and economic crisis. In a joint press conference with the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, she said that this recession is way worse than during the global financial crisis.

“Never in the history of the IMF we have witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill. We are now in recession. It is way worse than the global financial crisis. And it is a crisis that requires, all of us to come together.”

Georgieva said that there was no trade-off between the importance of health and economies.

“Saving lives and protecting livelihoods ought to go hand in hand. We cannot do one without the other. And in that spirit, we at the IMF are concentrated on making sure that there is a strong response to the health crisis as well as protecting the strength of the economy.”

Helping Emerging Markets and developing countries would be a main priority for the Fund in the coming weeks and months, Georgieva emphasized.

“We know that in a flight to safety, a lot of capital has left the emerging economies, the developing world. Nearly 90 billion dollars have flown out. This is way more than during the global financial crisis. And some countries are highly dependent on commodity exports. With prices collapsing, they're hit yet again. It is paramount for us to place these countries and especially the weakest among them in the center of our attention. The same way the virus hits vulnerable people with medical preconditions hardest, the economic crisis hits vulnerable economies the hardest.”

As of Friday April 3, 2020, over 90 countries have approached the Fund for financial assistance.

“We have a one trillion Dollar war chest and we are determined to use as much as necessary in that protecting the economy from the scarring of this crisis. We are mobilizing emergency financing assistance to countries, and I can tell you, we have never seen ever such a growing demand for emergency financing. Already over 90 countries have been placing requests to the IMF for it.”

Georgieva reassured that the IMF would act fast and use all available tools to help member countries.

“Our membership, our shareholders are saying use everything you can use right now fast. And that is the focus of our attention.”

You can read the full opening remarks of the Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva here:

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