Transcript of IMF Press Briefing

July 14, 2022

MR. RICE: Well, good morning everyone. Welcome to this Press Briefing on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. I’m Gerry Rice of the Communication Department and as usual, our briefing this morning will be embargoed until 10:30 a.m., that’s Washington time. Let me make a few quick announcements and then turn to your questions. Great to see so many colleagues on the screen here. And I’ve got some online as well, we’ll take as many as we can today. So several announcements – Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director is in Indonesia for the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which is taking place there as I’m sure you know. You will have seen her blog published yesterday as her preview from the Fund’s perspective of the G20 agenda, so I know many of you reported on that. And from there, she will move on to Japan, and she will be meeting with officials and speak at the 25th Anniversary of the IMF’s Regional Office there in Tokyo and will be posting that for you. We’ll keep you apprised indeed of all that she’s doing on this Asia trip. I want to remind you –- I know it’s on your calendars, that the update on our World Economic Outlook will be on July 26th –- Tuesday, July 26 th at 9:00 o’clock and that will be with our Chief Economist, the Fund’s Economic Counselor, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas. Pierre-Olivier will have a press conference with you on that day, and you’ll be able to join it via, social media and so on. That’s July 26th -– that’s the WEO update, okay guys. Finally, we announced earlier this week that the annual meetings which will be from October 10th to October 16 th. I know it seems far away, but as you also know it comes up very quickly, but we did announce earlier this week that the Annual Meetings this year will take place in person. So, these are the first in-person meetings since the pandemic.So look forward to seeing you all at the annual meetings in D.C. in person. That would -- really will be that’s something very, very nice to see all of you. Okay, that’s it on the announcements. So let me turn to your questions. I want to turn to first of all, Olivier RO from RFI -– Radio Rogez from Radio France International because he’s joining us for the first time. He’s having a little bit of difficulty with his —- I can see him there but he’s having a little bit of difficulty with his camera, and I think with his microphone. I don’t think you can come in, Olivier in which case you’ve just sent your questions and I’ll take them. One is on debt. And Olivier’s asking, what’s blocking progress for the three countries that have asked for more than a year to be part of the G20 common framework, and why a year after no decision has been taken on the restructuring of their debt. So that’s Olivier’s question. He’s got a second question I will come to in a moment on the resilience and sustainability trust, and I will take your question on that too Olivier. But I want to ask because I know it’s very much on you minds. Does anyone else have a question on debt or on the common framework, or the three countries that Olivier refers to which as you know are Chad, Zambia and Ethiopia. If you have a question on that please come in. I see David. David, come on in. Anyone else just raise your hand and we’ll take a cluster on these questions on that. David.

QUESTIONER: Hi Jerry. Thanks, good to see you after so many weeks. So, there are a lot of meetings here. There’s finally some move here to Chad, Ethiopia, and Zambia. Just wondering if you can give us an update on those talks. You know, there was an earlier meeting for Chad on Wednesday. Do you anticipate that there will be some sort of contingency arrangement based on the price of oil? Because some of the creditors have been concerned that, because of the high price of oil, they think Chad may no longer need a restructuring. And if you could also comment on the other recent scandal in Chad over embezzlement of funds from the National Oil Company, if that is a factor in these talks. On Ethiopia, you know, there’s been some indication that the United States has been an impediment to the deal there because of its concerns about the ongoing civil war and so, you know, what is realistic to expect from a creditor meeting on Monday. And then Zambia also another meeting on Monday. Are you expecting official creditors to make some commitments necessary to unlock IMF funding there. Thank you.

MR. RICE: Thanks David. Very comprehensive –-

QUESTIONER: Lot’s to get through.

MR. RICE: Very comprehensive. Anyone else want to come in on this one? Yes, Shabtai, hi. Good to see you Shabtai. Good to see you the other day. Fantastic event at Devex. Congratulations.

QUESTIONER: Thank you very much. David asked a lot of what I was going to ask and more, but I’ll just add that there are some countries like Ghana that are now coming to the IMF for different types of assistance. Obviously, these talks are going to take some time. I was curious if the IMF has any ability to do any fast disbursements for these countries, so that they can get over the immediate hurdles and not face serious balance of payment crisis. And then Secretary Yellen this morning called out China specifically on the common framework saying, you know, they she’s not seeing real progress. I was wondering if that’s going to be on the Managing Director’s agenda at the G20 as well. Sort of get China to do more on debt relief.

MR. RICE: Thanks, Shabtai. Simon, welcome. Simon, not hearing you. You may have to switch on.

QUESTIONER: Okay, great.

MR. RICE: Gotha, yep.

QUESTIONER: Good. So, thank you for taking my question. This is Simon Ateba at Today News Africa and Washington. On Ethiopia, I just wanted to know how you approach the situation. Do you need to wait until the civil war is over or do you –- I just want to understand, to, you know, how you approach it and then I have other questions. I don’t know if I can ask them now or wait for you to come back.

MR. RICE: Okay Simon. Anyone else on this clutch of issues in countries. Otherwise, I can give you what I’ve got. Good. So, broadly to begin with on debt again, I want to refer to what Kristalina Georgieva has been saying in recent days including this Devex event where we were with Shabtai. And including in the blog yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, what she’s been saying on debt really warning of the serious potential challenges facing the world on the debt front. But she said in the blog we need decisive actions now and she said time is not on our side, and she was urging large lenders, both sovereign and private to step up and play their part. So, you know, I think that was kind of a response to some of the issues that you’ve been raising. More specifically, again we’ve been saying that a third of emerging markets and developing economies are in debt distress, and for low-income countries it’s worse than that. It’s actually nearly twice as high, it’s 60 percent. So, the risk of debt crisis is increasing again as the Managing Director has been warning and urgency is the word. No time for complacency. And she will certainly be bringing that message to the G20 as it meets over these next couple of days. So, what can I tell you on the three specific countries that David and others mentioned. Let me just -– I’ll tell you what I have, and you can follow-up though I don’t really have much more on the specifics of the countries. But the three creditor committees for Chad, for Zambia and Ethiopia are all set to meet in the coming days, this month. And I think Kristalina Georgieva was the first one to indicate that that was happening and that is happening. So let me just go through them quickly. On Chad, again as Olivier said it was one of the first countries to request a debt treatment. I can say that progress has been made in our discussions with Chad on the overall macroeconomic framework and reforms that could underly the first review of the program, the extended credit facility that we have with Chad but that’s staff level agreement, which as you know is a crucial first step, remains conditioned on sufficient financing assurances as is the case with all our programs, and that includes an agreement on the necessary debt treatment.

Again, consistent with Fund Program parameters, we need financing assurances, and we need assurance on debt sustainability. So, the Creditor Committee on Chad, we expect to continue to meet. We think it’s essential. Again, that an agreement be reached promptly with all creditors, including Glenn Core to allow us to submit this first review under the ongoing arrangement that we have with Chad, and we’d then be able to put that to our Executive Board as soon as we possibly can, and try and provide the necessary financial support that Chad needs in this time of crisis. So, again, those of you who follow the Fund, you understand what I’m saying here. The staff-level agreement followed by approval of our Board is standard procedure. So, that’s on Chad.

On Zambia, a second meeting of Zambia’s Creditor Committee we expect to take place in the next week or so, and if official creditors can succeed in providing the financing assurances, again, to Zambia within the next few weeks, we can then take that to our Board for consideration of a program; and, you know, that could happen very soon after our Board recess, which is the first couple of weeks in August. So, we would be looking at probably around early September for that. Again, provided these steps are taken. That’s on Zambia.

On Ethiopia: well, we welcome that the Creditor Committee has been formed for Ethiopia, again, under this G20 common framework, and we have been and will continue to work closely to provide the needed technical support to the work of that Creditor Committee for Ethiopia and, specifically, we will meet with the Creditor Committee for Ethiopia the week of July 18th to update them what we see as the economic situation in Ethiopia. I know a number of you were asking about the political circumstances, and so on in Ethiopia. I don’t have anything on that, but we will be updating on the economic situation for Ethiopia with the Creditor Committee for that country the week of July 18.

That’s all I have on the three countries. You can follow up, but I can tell now, I really don’t have much more than that, but you’re welcome to follow up.

Shabtai asked about Ghana, in addition to those three countries. Shabtai, you may have seen the statement we issued last night on Ghana. I see that you did; good. So, I’m not going to repeat. It’s a fairly comprehensive statement. I’m not going to repeat all that’s in there, Shabtai; but, essentially, for those of you who haven’t seen it, we had been in discussions with Ghana. They have requested an IMF program to support their homegrown economic program. We did have an IMF staff mission in Accra from July 6 through yesterday, the 13th; and then, as we pretty much always do, we issued an end-of-mission statement. So, we’re at an early stage with Ghana in the discussions for a program, and those discussions will continue. I refer you to the ‑‑ I can say more but I’d really just be repeating what’s in a very comprehensive statement on Ghana, and it’s right there on the website.

Shabtai added to his question. Well, can the IMF do more, and can you do something faster? So, you know, just a reminder that in this crisis over the last couple of years, we have moved faster in an unprecedented way for the IMF in terms of speed with our emergency financing, with our direct debt relief and, of course, there was the SDR allocation less than a year ago.

So, you know, we’re doing as much as we can, looking to do as much as we can, Shabtai, and I’m sure you’re watching almost, you know, on a week-by-week, and sometimes day-by-day basis. There’s plenty of action, plenty of support going to countries from the IMF just in recent days. Moldova, the $171 million to Senegal, the $456 million to Mozambique, the $638 million recently to Benin. And, of course, emergency financing through our facilities can still be provided when members face urgent balance of payment problems and, what we call, and upper-traded trench regular program is either not feasible or not necessary. But just to say, this is not a static situation, we’re really moving every day, and I’ve just given a few examples there of the types of support we’ve been providing.

We’ve taken a bit of time on this. It’s an important, it’s a crucial issue. I’m sure it will feature; it will loom large at the G20.

Does anyone want to come back on that common framework? If not, I’ll leave it there and let me just take Olivier’s other question. I’ll try and take it quickly and then I’ll come to Argentina because I see a number of colleagues raising their hands.

But, again, Olivia’s asking on the RST, how does it work? What’s the timeline? Where are you on funding, et. cetera. So, again, Olivier, there’s actually a lot of information on our website on the RST. There’s a really good Q&A and you can find a lot of the stuff there. But, you are correct. This is a very important, we think, new instrument for the IMF. We’ve never had anything like this before, focused on the macro-critical challenges facing countries, but the longer-term structural challenges with macroeconomic implications, we have not had that kind of instrument. Before, the IMF, as you know, normally, does short-term financing. So, this is new and it’s focused on resilience, sustainability issues. Most notably, climate change, pandemic preparedness, but other issues too. It covers a wide range of countries, certainly low and vulnerable low-income countries, but also vulnerable middle-income countries and fragile states undertaking structural reforms. It covers, we estimate, about three-quarters of our membership. That’s three-quarters of 190.

As I said, long-term financing, this is new. Twenty-year maturity, 10-1/2-year grace period, and low interest rates, and eligibility is high quality policy measures, a concurrent financing or non-financing arrangement with the IMF, sustainable debt ‑‑ I mentioned that earlier. That’s true of all of our programs. And, you know, capacity to repay the fund. All of that, again, standard stuff for our other programs.

We aim for the RST to leverage additional financing, not just IMF financing from official and non-official sources. Where do we stand on funding? Our initial aspiration is to get to $45 billion. We stand at close to $40. We are at $37 billion, about $37 billion right now, and we’re hoping to get to the $45 really soon. And, when will it all kick in? We aim to start RST lending by around the time of our annual meetings in the Fall. So, it’s not far away. It’s coming up in the early part of October. Again, depending on securing the sufficient funding, but the bottom line is very good progress on the RST, on this new instrument. Thanks for the question.

Colleagues from Argentina. I see Liliana. I see Raphael. Liliana. And I see Juan Manuel. Hi, guys. Come on in. Liliana, you first.

QUESTIONER: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Gerry. While we have a new Minister of Economies, Silvina Batakis, and my question is did the Minister, Batakis, discuss with the IMF staff to change the goals agreed in the program. I’m referring as an example, for instance, the fiscal goal to reduce the fiscal deficit to 2.5. Are conversations going ahead in this point? Thank you, Gerry.

MR. RICE: Thank you, Lilliana. Raphael or Juan Manuel, do you want to add?

QUESTIONER: Yes, thanks, Gerry. Two questions. MD Georgieva said in an interview with Reuters that some painful actions might be needed. I was hoping you could clarify what exactly did she mean by painful actions. And a second question. Does the IMF still categorize Argentina’s program as credible and realistic? Are you sticking with that characterization of the program? Thanks.

MR. RICE: Hey, thanks, Raphael. Nice to see you. Juan Manuel, come on in.

QUESTIONER: Hi, Gerry, and everyone. Well, the first question. What can we know about the second quarterly review of Argentina’s program; and, secondly, similar to what Raphael asked, the new minister of the economy announced this week a plan, a fiscal plan. So, my question is: are these measures match with the need of painful actions mentioned by the Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva?

MR. RICE: Thanks, Juan Manuel. I'm seeing Patricia. Hi, Patricia. Come on in.

QUESTIONER: Hi, Gerry. Also, in tune with my colleagues, I would like to ask if there is a meeting coming up, agreed to meet the new members of the Argentine economic team? And when can we expect the next review?

MR. RICE: Good. Thanks, Patricia. Rodrigo, are you looking to come in on Argentina? I see your hand raised. Is this on Argentina or something else?

QUESTIONER: Thank you, Gerry. Anything I had on Argentina my colleagues asked. I want to ask about Ukraine. So, you can come back to me later.

MR. RICE: All right. I'll come back to you then, Rodrigo, yes. So, thanks, guys, for that clutch of questions on Argentina. Let me give you what I have.

So, last week, just within the past week, our Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, and our Director for the Western Hemisphere Department, whom you all know, Ilan Goldfajn, they each had calls with Minister Batakis. And the Managing Director issued a short statement after her call. She characterized it as a very good call with the Minister where they discussed the implementation of the ongoing program, Argentina's program, supported by the IMF. And the way she put it was we're looking forward to continuing our constructive engagement to promote economic stability and inclusive growth in Argentina in this very challenging global environment that Argentina and pretty much every country is facing right now.

I can add to that, again, responding to some of your questions. I hope that our staff, team on Argentina, including our resident representative in Buenos Aires are already engaging with the Minister and her technical team. As you know, and as some of you mentioned, the Minister recently and publicly reiterated her commitment to implement the Fund supported program and the agreed program objectives.

And the announced measures referred to by the Minister are consistent with the objectives of the program that had been agreed to strengthen macroeconomic stability and begin tackling Argentina's deep seated challenges, specifically in what the Minister said, we welcome efforts to strengthen expenditure controls, tax compliance, and public debt management coordination. So, we continue to engage with the Minister and her team as they work to implement their economic program that's supported by the Fund.

Someone asked, maybe it was Juan Manuel, about the second review and that's expected to take place in September. And we will communicate about that in due course.

So, the bottom line I think is, you know, questions were asked about where is the program? Are the objectives still the same? Is it realistic, and so on? To which, you know, I would just refer to what I've just said and what the Minister has said, that the objectives remain. And I would, again, repeat that we have had a very positive initial engagement with the Minister. And we look forward to continuing to work constructively to achieve the agreed objectives. And that's where the focus of the discussions is, and those discussions are ongoing.

Martin, you didn't get a chance. Come on in. Martin. Martin, did you want to come in on Argentina? Martin Canasberger (phonetic), can you hear me? I thought I saw your hand raised, Martin. You're having trouble so, okay. We'll come back to Martin.

I'm going to turn to Maoling I think has a question on China. Martin, I'll come back to you. I see your. Maoling?

QUESTIONER: Hi. Thank you, Gerry, very much for taking my question. I want to ask about the Chinese economy because it has been hurt badly by the lockdowns related to COVID-19. I was wondering whether the IMF has some suggestions for Chinese policy makers in terms of how to handle the economy under the current circumstances.

MR. RICE: Thank you, Maoling. I heard you loud and clear. I also heard an echo of myself. I hope everything -- I hope you're able to hear things clearly, everybody. If you have a problem, let me know. And Martin, I'll try and come back to you.

On Maoling's question about China, and she was asking about the economic impact of the lockdowns and IMF's ongoing advice on the economy. So, clearly, a key issue in the short term, given the large impact the recent lockdowns had on economic activity in China, is for macroeconomic policy to step up and meet the challenge of the slowing growth momentum that we are seeing in China. And in that context, we welcome the shift to a more expansionary fiscal policy this year.

But even more support would help counter the ongoing growth slowdown. This fiscal support would be particularly effective, in our view, if focused on vulnerable households through transfers and strengthening of the social protection system. In addition, given low core inflation and a still negative output gap, our view is that the Peoples Bank of China should continue to provide monetary support. The reduction in key policy rates earlier this year helps lower borrowing costs, strengthens investment. It's a welcome step towards interest rate based accommodative policy.

But, -- and coming a bit more directly to your question, Maoling -- but the lockdowns also emphasize the importance of continuing to adjust China's zero-COVID strategy. In particular, mitigating the disruption to economic activity from COVID would require ramping up booster shots and targeting the under-vaccinated elderly. This should eventually allow adjusting the containment strategy to become more flexible and less restrictive. That's what I have for you, Maoling, on China.

I am seeing Heather Scott asking about -- Heather's got a couple of things. But Heather's asking about Sri Lanka. Heather Scott, AFP. What are the prospects for aid for Sri Lanka given the political upheaval? Is the Fund considering any emergency bridge financing to help deal with the immediate crisis? Sri Lanka, much in the news. Let me ask if anyone else has a question on Sri Lanka and I'll try and take a clutch of them. Matthew, hi.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, sure. Thanks a lot. I've been wanting to ask this. I mean, given the turmoil in the country and President -- or not-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa now reportedly being in Singapore, I guess I wondered if you could specifically, what's the relationship? Does this have to shake itself out, including the Prime Minister's role, before the IMF can do anything? What is -- I know you often say you won't speak to political things, but this is kind of an extraordinary situation in which, you know, people are swimming in the presidential swimming pool. They held a mock IMF session in the presidential palace.

What is the sort of minimum of political stability that the IMF would see? Who are they talking to, I guess? That's my question on Sri Lanka.

MR. RICE: Right. Good question. Anyone else coming in on Sri Lanka or wants to? Okay. Then I will take the couple of questions we have from Heather and from Matthew.

So, like everyone else we are, of course, deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis, it's impact on the Sri Lankan people, and particularly the poor and the vulnerable groups in Sri Lanka. Again, like everyone else, we're closely monitoring the political and the social developments there.

We hope for a resolution of the current situation that would allow for our resumption of a dialogue on an IMF supported program. You may recall that in June, less than a month ago, things are moving so fast, but less than a month ago there was an IMF staff team in Colombo. And we did have discussions, actually, constructive discussions with the authorities on a set of economic policies and reforms that could be supported by, potentially by an IMF program. We don't have a program with Sri Lanka right now. But we were discussing what could be a program.

Clearly, the political and the social emergency situation I guess we could characterize it and we all see what's happening, you described it, Matthew, has, you know, interrupted those discussions and we hope to resume as soon as possible. In the meantime, you asked, you know, who we're talking to, Matthew. We do have technical counterparts still in, you know, some of the key ministries in the central bank and the Ministry of Finance. So, we are able to continue discussions there.

But the, you know, the high-level discussions with the authorities that we would need to begin discussions on a program, we hope again, that these would be able to resume as soon as possible. So, you know, looking to do all we can in just an extraordinary difficult situation.

Heather, I don’t have anything about emergency or bridge financing. You know, as I just described, we were having these discussions with Sri Lanka. And we hope to resume them as soon as the situation has stabilized a bit. And, of course, an important part of those discussions is the debt situation. Sri Lanka's public debt is assessed as unsustainable and as is the case with every IMF program, not just the case of Sri Lanka, for approval by the Board. And we are not at that stage, but for approval by the Board, a program would require adequate assurances on debt sustainability. So, that's what I have on this, you know, situation that's of great concern in Sri Lanka.

Heather had a question on Pakistan. I'm going to come back online in a minute. If you have a question, please raise your hand, raise your virtual hand. Heather's question on Pakistan. What's the status of talks? So, Heather, much like the case of Ghana, we issued a statement within the last 24 hours on Pakistan. I want to refer you to that. It was that we have reached -- the substance of it was we've reached a staff level agreement with Pakistan, you know, it's been much in the news. And it's an agreement on a combined seventh and eighth review of the program that we do have with Pakistan that will translate into about 1.17 million being disbursed to Pakistan. Pretty much, straight away, and a reminder that this brings total disbursements from the IMF to Pakistan under the ongoing program to well over $4 billion, about $4.2 billion. And we're hoping this will help to stabilize the economy and amongst other things help expand the social safety net to protect the most vulnerable; accelerate structural reforms; and stabilize the macroeconomic, help stabilize the macroeconomic situation in Pakistan. That's what I have. The statement is quite substantive.

Heather, do you want to come in on, on Pakistan, follow up. I see your hand raised Heather, but I do not hear you. There you are, Heather.


MR. RICE: There you are. Nice. Now, I see you as well, which is terrific. Hi.

QUESTIONER: Okay. Sorry about that. Yeah, that question was a little out of date. I gave it before the statement was issued, but I did want to follow up. Do we have any sense of timing on the Board meeting for that agreement?

MR. RICE: Heather, I don't have anything beyond what the statement says. But look, as you know, the Board meeting can follow -- you who follow the Fund, and I know you do, Heather can follow any time between three, six weeks, within that period could be slightly earlier, could be slightly later, could fall within that, but that's roughly the ballpark between the staff level agreement and then the final agreement, which comes from our Board.

Okay. I'm going to move off Pakistan. I'm going to -- Martin, I see your question on Argentina.


MR. RICE: You're asking about hyperinflation. Do you share the same fear? What do you think about the financial crisis? The huge difference, official alternative exchange rates. Martin, I really don't have much to add beyond what I said to other colleagues on Argentina. So, I want to acknowledge your question. These are important issues. They will be subjects of the ongoing discussions I'm sure, but I don't have any specific detail on that.

So, let me come back in the room and I see -- Rodrigo, I don't think we took a question from you. David, I see you I'll come to you. Simon, I see you. I'll come to you. Rodrigo.

QUESTIONER: Thank you, Gerry. I wanted to ask about Ukraine and where are you advising them in terms of payment of foreign debt? And is the advice different for the sovereign and for the SOE or is it the same?

MR. RICE: Okay. Anyone else coming in on Ukraine? Okay. So, maybe just, stepping back on Ukraine, Rodrigo. We've been supporting them with a program loan of 1.4 billion. We've supported them from the SDR, their SDR allocation. We've established the administered account, what we call administered account from donors to support Ukraine. Canada, Germany, the Netherlands have all stepped in so far. We're expecting more in the coming days. We attended the Ukraine Recovery Conference, which focused more on the reconstruction. At the moment, Ukraine is servicing its debt in an orderly way. And we would expect that to continue. So, just to respond to your question, what we're also saying is that what we see as the priority in terms of financing for Ukraine right now is grant financing in the immediate and the short-term. That's the best form of assistance that can be provided by the international community, in light of the war situation and the nature of the shock. And that would allow the Ukrainian Government to remain operational without incurring further debt, which is an important dimension of the question you asked.

QUESTIONER: Sorry. So, there's no recommendation on requesting payment freezes or anything like that?

MR. RICE: No, I don't have anything beyond Rodrigo of what I just said. Okay?

QUESTIONER: Thank you, Gerry.

MR. RICE: Thank you. David, did you want to come in on something else or are you okay, David Lawder?

QUESTIONER: No, Gerry I'm okay. We've got a lot to get through here before 10:30. Thanks.

MR. RICE: You do. Thank you, David. Appreciate it. Simon?

QUESTIONER: Thank you, Gerry, for this question again. I would like to ask you two question. One on Angola, if you can access the state of the Angolan economy. I noticed recently you had a projection growth of about 3 percent, and on the upcoming IMF, World Bank Annual Meetings. I don't know if you can tell us more how many delegates do you expect? Is there any change? Do you anticipate any change from 2019 when it was last done in-person? Thank you.

MR. RICE: Thanks Simon. Simon, I'll need to come back to you on Angola, and we will come back to you immediately after the press briefing. Okay. I'm not up to date myself on Angola, but it's a good question and we will come back to you after the press briefing.

On the Annual Meetings. Simon, again, they’re going to be in-person for the first time since the pandemic. And we are certainly hoping that as many of our member countries will be represented in-person as is possible. We're all monitoring the situation with COVID. We see how it's dynamic to say the least, but we have a plan, and we have an objective and an aspiration. And that aspiration is that we will see our member countries to the greatest extent possible in-person in Washington, in October. That's what I have on that.

Anyone else looking to come in, because, if not, then I'll take the last question, which is from David Herblings on Bloomberg. And David's asking about Kenya. What's the status on additional funding? Are they considering a waiver of conditions such as Kenya requested, including established a government’s central payroll inflation target? It's a pretty detailed question, David. I can really only answer pretty broadly on Kenya, which is that we are scheduled, our Board, is scheduled to discuss Kenya's third review under the IMF program arrangements on July 18th. So, that's Monday, and we will be able to give you more detail on what you're asking after that meeting. We have commended the Kenyan authorities' strong program commitment. Actions to, in response to external challenges. And the program, as I say, supports those objectives, including to put debt on a downward trajectory and demobilizing taxes, spending wisely will create space to meet social and development needs. The program includes specific actions to promote transparency, reduce the risk of corruption, and so on. So, I guess my message is David sit tight. The Board is meeting on Monday, and we will have more thereafter, including publication of the full report that the Board looks at on Monday. As always, we will publish that and I'm sure a lot of the details that you're asking about will be in that report.

So, with that we have hit the 10:30 hour almost. I want to thank you for joining us today. We will not have another press conference before the Board recess that I mentioned, first two weeks of August, but there will be a full-fledged press conference from the IMF on July 26th on the WEO update led by Pierre Olivier Gourinchas. I know many of you will be, looking forward to that. Stay safe and well everyone, and look forward to seeing you all soon. Bye-bye.

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