G7 makes progress on pandemic relief for poorer nations: UK
LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s seven largest advanced economies moved on Friday to boost the International Monetary Fund reserves for the first time since 2009, a step aimed at helping developing countries cope with the coronavirus pandemic, Britain said on Friday.
Britain – which is chairing the Group of Seven (G7) this year – said G7 finance ministers had agreed to support a “new and sizeable” increase in the volume of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), an internal currency used by the IMF.
“Today’s milestone agreement among the G7 paves the way for crucial and concerted action to support the world’s low-income countries, ensuring that no country is left behind in the global economic recovery from coronavirus,” British finance minister Rishi Sunak said.
Any expansion of SDRs will need to be agreed with other countries ahead of the IMF’s spring meeting that takes place in April.
There are currently $293 billion of SDRs in circulation, and the last big expansion took place during the 2009 global financial crisis.
Britain’s finance ministry said extra SDRs would help poorer countries “pay for crucial needs such as vaccines and food imports, and improve the buffers of emerging markets and low-income countries”.
G7 finance ministers also agreed to work with the IMF to improve the transparency of how SDRs are allocated and used, as well as look at how richer nations could share SDRs with poorer ones.
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