News24.com | DR Congo, ‘experiencing severe shock’, granted $363m in coronavirus aid from IMF

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Washington
– The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday announced emergency aid of
$363 million to fight the new coronavirus in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
an African nation that had also been battling Ebola and militia attacks.

“DRC is experiencing a
severe shock as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” an IMF statement said.
“The short-term economic outlook has deteriorated quickly due to the fall
of minerals’ prices and the impact of needed containment and mitigation
measures.”

Mineral
exports, particularly to China, are the impoverished country’s main revenue
source.

The IMF approved a disbursement
under the Rapid Credit Facility equivalent to about $363 million to help the
DRC meet urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the pandemic.

Additional support from other
development partners is expected to close the remaining gap and ease budget
financing needs, the Washington-based IMF said.

It said DRC authorities made a
firm response to the pandemic including an increase in health-related spending,
but domestic revenue mobilisation has suffered and foreign exchange reserves
have come under pressure, while the central bank announced liquidity support.

The DRC has recorded at least 21
dead from Covid-19 out of more than 250 cases since 10 March, almost all in
Kinshasa.

Last Friday, the IMF and World
Bank warned that Africa needs tens of billions of dollars in additional money
to fight the coronavirus pandemic despite debt freezes and massive pledges of support.

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