IMF To Inject US$2.5 Billion Into Caribbean As COVID-19 Rescue Funding
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it could inject up to US$2.5 billion in emergency financing to the Caribbean region.
In a blog post on its website, the IMF says the “sudden stop” in tourism is sharply slowing economic activity in the Caribbean. With global cruise lines and air travel at a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Caribbean economies are being "hit hard", says the IMF. In some Caribbean nations, it notes that tourism accounts for as much as 90% of the GDP and employment.
"This would be the deepest recession in more than half a century," it says.
The upcoming hurricane season poses additional risks to these already budget-strapped economies, it said.
The IMF has already approved requests for the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) by Haiti, Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Lucia. Requests for funding from Jamaica and Barbados are still pending.
Barbados has also requested an augmentation of its existing Extended Fund Facility.
On its website, the IMF states that the RCF "provides low-access, rapid, and concessional financial assistance to LICs (low-income countries) facing an urgent balance of payments need, without ex post conditionality," meaning without having to meet conditions set by the IMF that they will carry out after they receive the aid.
Other recent reforms allow immediate debt service relief to low-income countries, such as Haiti, affected by the crisis, thereby creating space for spending on urgent health needs.
The IMF says it is also working with the World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, and other regional partners to explore solutions to assist countries in the Caribbean navigate the challenges and pave the way to economic recovery.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.