Our updated tracker seeks to identify countries that have requested IMF financial support, under its different guises, in order to help them deal with the impact of Covid-19. We do not claim it is exhaustive, but hope it provides a useful guide to investors on the current state of play. It is based on information that has been reported by the IMF itself, various media or national governments. We aim to produce regular updates.
The IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on 3 April at the joint IMF-WHO press briefing that over 90 countries have requested emergency financing from it so far. Our tracker captures 25 countries that we know of that have either sought, or are seeking, emergency help or have made drawings under their existing arrangements, or are seeking new ones.
Since our last update on Thursday 9 April, seven countries have had emergency financing facilities approved (this includes one - Senegal - that was already pending), taking the total number of countries now to 11. Ghana became the latest country for which the IMF has approved a disbursement under its emergency financing facilities, a US$1bn RCF disbursement approved on 13 April. Gabon also had a US$147mn disbursement under the RFI approved on 9 April. In addition, since our last update, Colombia has requested to renew its FCL and staff level agreement on the second review of Armenia's SBA, including augmented access, has been reached.
The IMF also announced two key policy changes in the last few days:
1. To meet this exceptional financing need, the IMF announced on 9 April a doubling of resources available under its emergency facilities (RFI/RCF) to US$100bn from US$50bn. The Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) is available to all members, while the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) is available only to low-income countries eligible for concessional financing. The IMF also approved on a temporary basis an increase in access limits under the RFI/RCF, with annual access limits rising from 50% of quota to 100% and cumulative limits increasing from 100% of quota to 150%. The IMF also announced a streamlining of procedures for Board consideration of emergency financing.
2. The IMF announced on 13 April that it had approved the immediate debt service relief for 25 countries under its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) of money owed to it. This provides grants to its poorest members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial period of six months, which may be extended to two years. The CCRT can currently provide about US$500mn in grant-based debt service relief, including recent pledges from the UK and Japan, and with other contributions expected to follow, including from China and the Netherlands. The countries that will receive this debt service relief are: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.