IMF approves R693m for Central African Republic Covid-19 response
Cape Town – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved $38 million (R693m) in emergency assistance for the Central African Republic (CAR) under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), in order to address Covid-19.
The organisation said that if not contained, the virus could have a "considerable" economic and social impact on the impoverished country.
CAR would also benefit from debt service relief under the IMF Catastrophic Containment and Relief Trust, it said.
The United Nations Development Programme has flagged CAR as one of several African states that has limited ability to manage the virus because of its poor public healthcare, weak government, lack of basic services including potable water and sanitation, and rampant poverty.
Despite this, the IMF said that the country had acted fast and, assisted by the World Health Organisation, had prepared a response plan to strengthen its national health system, and was implementing measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact on the economy.
The landlocked central African country had also benefited, according to the IMF, from an executive board decision of April 13, to provide debt service relief to all countries eligible for support from the International Development Association (IDA) in the form of grant assistance under the Catastrophe Containment window of the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
“As a result, CAR will receive relief from the CCRT on debt service falling due to the IMF in the next six months. This relief could be extended for up to two years, subject to the availability of resources under the CCRT,” the IMF said.
“If not contained, the Covid-19 pandemic could have a considerable economic and social impact on the CAR. The sharp global economic downturn and border closures with neighboring countries have already led to a significant reduction in economic activity, with sectors such as commodity exports, trade, and construction particularly hard hit,” it added.
The IMF said it was monitoring the situation in the CAR closely and was ready to provide "policy advice" and other support.
African News Agency (ANA)