South Africa says over $4 billion available from IMF, World Bank to fight COVID-19

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South Africa’s finance minister said on Friday more than $4 billion was available from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for the country to help it fight COVID-19, playing down worries that the money would come with onerous conditions.

The approach comes despite deep suspicion in some governing party circles and within the influential trade union movement because of the conditions the IMF and World Bank might impose.

The minister, Tito Mboweni, said those opposed to the government borrowing from the IMF and World Bank were making “a mountain out of an anthill”. An IMF official told Reuters last week that the emergency funds on offer came with no requirement for a structural adjustment programme.

“The critical thing about the IMF facility that we would approach them for is that it is specific to the crisis. This is not the usual budget support or policy intervention or technical assistance and conditionalities. … I think we need to understand that,” Mboweni said.
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