Update on the Financing of the Fund's Concessional Assistance and Debt Relief to Low-Income Countries

Publication Date:

April 24, 2018

Electronic Access:

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Summary:

The Fund is adapting its framework for providing support to low-income countries (LICs) amid rising vulnerabilities. Despite a global economic upswing, many LICs continue to face difficult fiscal and external positions, aggravated by increasing debt levels and natural disasters in many countries. In this context, the Executive Board approved in May 2017 higher annual access limits under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) for balance of payment needs arising from large natural disasters and in May 2017 decided to keep the list of Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT)-eligible countries unchanged notwithstanding rising per capita income levels. A comprehensive review of PRGT facilities is underway to consider potential adaptations of program modalities and access policies.

PRGT demand in 2017 was above the historical average for the third year in a row. New commitments totaled SDR 1.7 billion, the highest level since the global financial crisis. Demand is expected to moderate somewhat in 2018. Longer-term demand estimates are broadly unchanged from last year’s update, and remain generally consistent with the self-sustaining PRGT financing framework adopted in 2012.

Loan resources have been successfully replenished, while subsidy contributions remain somewhat below pledged amounts. The 2015 fundraising round mobilized slightly more than the initial target of SDR 11 billion in new loan resources from 15 PRGT lenders, which should provide adequate loan resources into the next decade. By contrast, progress has been limited in collecting the remaining pledged resources for subsidizing the interest on PRGT credit.

The PRGT self-sustained capacity remains intact. The PRGT’s self-sustained long term average annual lending capacity is estimated at SDR 1.31 billion, broadly unchanged from last year’ estimate. While capacity estimates are sensitive to a variety of factors, they remain relatively close to the target of SDR 1¼ billion under a number of shocks.

The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR Trust) remains underfunded. Funding is below the original targeted amount of new bilateral contributions totaling US$150 million, and the gap is more sizeable when considering the increase of members’ quotas under the 14th General Review of Quotas. To meet funding needs for future qualifying catastrophe relief, it is important that countries with outstanding pledges fulfill their commitments and for additional countries to come forward.

Additional financing would be required to provide debt relief to members with protracted arrears. Debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Counties (HIPC) Initiative is winding up, with only two potentially eligible countries left with outstanding Fund credit. These are the protracted arrears cases of Somalia and Sudan. Additional resources would be required to finance the Fund’s participation in debt relief when these countries are ready to undertake the HIPC Initiative process.

Series:

Policy Papers

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

April 3, 2018

Price:

Free

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