World Bank chief expects G20 to extend debt payment freeze through end-2021

FILE PHOTO: World Bank President David Malpass attends the “1+6” Roundtable meeting at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World Bank President David Malpass on Monday said he expects China, the United States and other Group of 20 major economies to extend a freeze in bilateral debt service payments through the end of 2021 when they meet this week.

The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative had already helped countries defer some $5 billion in payments through the end of 2020, with another $7.3 billion in deferred payments expected through June, Malpass told reporters.

Extending the debt payment freeze through year-end would save even more money that countries could use to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and support their economies, but ‘actual debt relief’ would be needed in the longer-term to allow the poorest countries to bring their debt burdens to a more moderate level.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal