G20 must cancel debt to stop coronavirus ‘third wave’ devastating developing countries

The Coronavirus crisis could result in a catastrophic loss of life in poorer countries and push half a billion more people into poverty. Countries like the Central African Republic have just three ventilators for almost five million people, and Malawi has only a quarter of the nurses needed to provide healthcare for all. Yet right now, instead of investing every dollar they have into boosting their healthcare systems to defend against the onslaught of the virus, these countries are having to use their precious resources to pay off external debt. This week, the G20 finance ministers, the IMF and the World Bank can offer an instant lifeline – by cancelling all external debt payments for 2020. Cancelling debt payments of the 76 poorest countries could save $40 billion immediately and support almost 500 million of the world’s poorest to survive this crisis.