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2020 Virtual Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF – 17th April 2020

Concluding Remarks by Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta
Chairman, Development Committee of the World Bank and IMF

I want to sincerely thank everyone for this outpouring of care and willingness to do more. However, the existential nature of the pandemic requires an extraordinary and graver global response even beyond our imagination.

The structures are shaken or fallen with no country spared.

The need for the additionality of fresh capital is clear to us if we are to offer the appropriate stimulus and this has been echoed for example by Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Caribbean to address fiscal shock.
The need for a two year or longer standstill given that the nature of this pandemic is not a passing blizzard but truly a long winter, if not a mild ice age. And as indicated, a more comprehensive debt relief discussion and the US representative Mr. Mackintosh and David indicated to begin a dialogue with private sector creditors without coercion.
As we look at debt, the issue of transparency should be very clear to us so that no one abuses this opportunity.

It is in my view that this is a very awkward time for sovereign credit rating downgrading and talks of moral hazard in the face of an unknown attack by an unknown enemy for what is not a blizzard but at best a long winter.

Let us from here move rapidly to create an inclusive global forum to rebuild the International financial and economic architecture and a new ability to respond equitably and rapidly to such a catastrophe.

And while it seems far away, the next time this Committee meets – hopefully in person – we need to be seeing the Green Shoots of Recovery.

Just as the previous apocalyptic events such as Black Death, World War 1, Spanish Flu, Great Depression, World War 2, Global financial & Asian Crisis, Ebola and now COVID-19, this too we shall defeat, only if we stand together.
Let us remake ourselves to create a new era.

Let us press forward the human genius and example of our leaders gone, so that our future will indeed be greater than our past, for in the end as the Bible said in Proverbs 11:4. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath as we witness 2.2 million affected and nearly 150,000 dead recently and some 8 trillion disproportionately deployed.

I am confident that we will get through this, with Kristalina and David by our side, we can defeat this only by working together in solidarity and cooperation – a truly coordinated global effort.

May the Lord touch our hearts so we act in the interest of humanity.

By Naa Anyema Collison

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