So just a quick update on the Fund and its response to the Covid-19 crisis. As of today, we have given emergency financing to 76 countries, that's totaling around
We have provided immediate debt relief in the form of grants to all 29 of our poorest member countries which were eligible under the catastrophe containment and relief trust. Our total lending commitments at this point for the
A couple of announcements about upcoming events. The managing director,
She will be taking place –- taking part in the financing for development session with heads of state on
Just this morning we published a blog on how the
We are now looking ahead to the Annual Meetings, of course, which are formally help that week of
And then, I mentioned the week of the annual meetings itself is 11 to 16 of October. On Tuesday the 13th of October, The World Economic Outlook and the Global Financial Stability report will be released. I know that's of great interest to many of you so the WEO, the GSFR coming on Tuesday the 13th. And then, the following day the Fiscal Monitor on Wednesday the 14th will be coming.
During that week of the annual meetings you will find a number of major seminars. For example,
And then, around the meetings both before and after, several conferences that I think will be of interest to you. We will be doing our second Mobilizing with
And finally, let me say just again on the annual meetings, related to these flagship documents, the WEO, the GFRS, and the Fiscal Monitor, we always have what we call analytical chapters which look at the specific issues in the global economy. And the WEO analytical chapters will be released the week before the meetings so that's that week of
That's a lot of dates to throw at you. Apologies for that. You will find them all on IMF.org in more detail and you can take note.
One more housekeeping item for me. We are, as I said at the top of the meeting - the top of the briefing, we're taking life questions via WebEx so please raise your hand on WebEx, use the chat function. We will look at that and you will find if you go to the
So just to give you an opportunity to get on WebEx and ask your questions, let me begin with a couple of questions that have already come in online. And I'm going to start with
First, what steps can
Certainly the pandemic has highlighted the need to increase investment in the healthcare sector. Of course that's true for
Lalit has a second question about Prime Minister Modi's "Atma Nirbhar Bharat” initiative, or “self-reliant India”, and what's our view on that? To which I would say the economic package under this self-reliant
And looking ahead, as the Prime Minister has said, for
So thank you, Lalit for those questions.
One more online on
In the meantime, we have been in touch with the Lebanese authorities on technical issues. We have offered technical assistance in areas that can help them face some of the challenges following that terrible explosion at the port. There's a need to embark again, on comprehensive reforms, to restore confidence and address challenges in many areas so as to bring back stability and enhance investment prospects. And these will help with putting the economy back on a growth path. That's it on
Let me turn to WebEx and place our trust in the technology that we can take some live questions. And I'm going to go first to Reuters and I believe Andrea Shalal is on the line. Andrea, are you there?
QUESTIONER: Hey, good morning, Gerry. Thank you for doing this.
QUESTIONER: I can start my video. I can't see you on this WebEx but I can see you on the other feed.
QUESTIONER: I'm wondering whether you have -
QUESTIONER: Hello. Yeah, long hair. Yeah, I was wondering, do you have an updated assessment of the precedence for a second wave of COVID infections and what that will mean for the global economy and especially the emerging market and developing economies.
Second quarter performance in
But, you know, I'd really, I would emphasize we are not out of the woods and that the outlook remains very challenging, especially for many emerging markets and developing countries. The emerging markets other than
Why, we're seeing the strains continue in terms of domestic demand which has been plunging coupled with additional pressures in many cases from commodity price drops, lower export demand, sharp declines in tourism in many countries and shrinking remittances. Small, you asked, Andrea, about which particular countries, small developing states have been hit particularly hard by this pandemic especially, again, those dependent on tourism. And they now face sharp contractions and large financing needs.
So, taken together, we are very concerned that this crisis will reverse the gains in poverty reduction that have been made in recent years and rollback the progress that has been made toward the
QUESTIONER: Thanks, Gerry. I just want to follow up. Actually, I wanted to ask about the
And then secondly, you were talking about the financing needs of those developing countries. I'm wondering if you can say anything? I mean, the
On your specific question on the stimulus, we released our recent Article IV report some weeks ago, middle of July or so forth. And in that, you know, the difficult situation faced by
On the question of debt and, you know, the debt sustainability initiative, the DSSI, of course, during the process of
On the DSSI itself, well over half of potentially eligible countries have applied for participation. At the Annual Meetings, there will be further discussions of the DSSI and next steps required. I think there will be discussions both by the
A couple of issues that I would expect to feature and I think that relate to your questions. Participation by the private sector, by commercial lenders in the DSSI would provide much welcome additional breathing space to the poorest countries as they cope with the pandemic. And even as private sector participation in the initiative remains voluntary, the Fund and the
So, private sector participation, I think, will be one issue. The second issue, I think, will be whether this initiative should be extended beyond 2020. And where we stand right now is that official bilateral creditors have agreed to provide relief until the end of this year. Again, the
And, you know, I would expect the issue of how countries beyond the poorest countries, Andrea, can be helped also to be a focus of discussion at the Annual Meetings, so stay tuned for that. Thank you for those questions, Andrea and very nice to see you. Haven't seen you in ages.
Let me turn to CCTV. Gabriel, I think I see you there. Please.
QUESTIONER: Hi, Gerry. Can you hear me?
QUESTIONER: Hi. Great, hi Gerry, thank you for doing this and good that we're seeing each other although virtually. My question is regarding to the
That's just one example of, I think, a very concrete example of why international cooperation continues to be very important, especially in our increasingly interconnected world. And I think given the pandemic, I think this actually has brought to light, brought into sharper focus why international cooperation is needed, perhaps, more than ever. If you think about vaccines, their production and distribution, if you think about resolving trade issues, if you think about technology issues, and, you know, something like climate change, clearly issues like that, challenges that face the world, they face individual countries, but they don't recognize borders. They face the world and cannot be resolved without international cooperation, without us working together, in essence.
Now clearly, there are areas where multilateralism can do better. We need to be alive to that. Amongst other things, I think we can do a better job explaining and making clear just how much the world has to lose if we do not support international cooperation and allow it to decline.
I'm going to turn to
QUESTIONER: Thank you, Gerry.
QUESTIONER: Yes. Can you hear me better now?
QUESTIONER: Okay. Sorry. So several questions, first of which involving
On your other questions, Eric, on debt. You know, I covered that a bit with Andrea. We are working closely with member countries on their debt issues. You know, clearly there will be some cases where debt restricting will be required to help the countries recover from the crisis and restore debt sustainability. But currently, our main goal is to support the international community in working together to help countries avoid such scenarios wherever possible. But clearly, the costs of the pandemic have led to increasing debt burdens for a number of countries, and as I say, we are working with them closely to try and resolve those issues.
What can I say more on DSSI beyond my comments to Andrea? We're pushing hard for private sector participation. We are pushing for extension. I don't really have much to add beyond that, Eric.
So let me leave those questions on debt there. On your question on
Of course, our ultimate objective, our shared objective with the authorities is to help with their objective to strengthen macroeconomic stability and growth, create jobs for the Argentine people, and reduce poverty, and overcome this difficult social/economic crisis which, of course, has been compounded by the pandemic.
I imagine that there may be more questions on
QUESTIONER: Yes, I'm here Gerry.
QUESTIONER: Can you hear me?
QUESTIONER: Good morning. It's good to hear you. Gerry, regarding
I wanted to ask you if this changed the calculus on this schedule that the staff and the Argentine government has been discussing for the new program, and if there has been any talks about some emergency funding during the negotiations to, you know, reprogram all the payments from the current SBA. Thanks.
What I would begin by saying, Rafael, is clearly
So, in terms of the status, Rafael, and others where we stand, we are - the
And as I said here the last time we talked about
Again, it's a milestone in the sense of having this staff visit, it's you know the beginning of the process and again, I want to stress, we don't know whether physical or virtual, we will keep you posted on that as the plans are finalized. So again, this is the start of the process. It will take time. There is no fixed deadline to reach a conclusion and again, our focus and that of the authorities, is to work toward policies that can ensure sustainable and inclusive growth and address the economic imbalances.
And you know, on the measures taken last week, you mentioned, Rafael, I would just repeat what I had said to Eric, that you know, we have a very fluid and constructive dialogue with the authorities and that is ongoing. I think your last question related to repayments to the
And let me leave it there, Rafael, except to say you had asked about discussions around emergency financing and so on, and I'm not aware of any such discussions at the moment.
Are you okay, Rafael, and
QUESTIONER: Yeah, that's great, thank you, Gerry.
I am going to turn to
QUESTIONER: Sure, I'm here, thanks a lot. I was going to ask three but now I am going to ask two. I know we are getting short on time.
Another question is about
QUESTIONER: Yes, yes, that was fine. That was one of the reasons that I was able to - my -
So, where are we?
On your specific question on
QUESTIONER: You may say so, it's not, this is on my mind, but I am here. I'm scheduled to do something at 10:30, but thanks for the answers.
QUESTIONER: I wish, I - if only, no, but thanks, this is great.
So, we will see you then, until then, please stay safe and well and I thank you very much for joining us today. Bye-bye.