IMF, World Bank to hold virtual meetings over Coronavirus epidemic

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have announced that the meetings set for April 16-18 would be done in a virtual format due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President, David Malpass made this announcement in a joint statement released by the institutions.

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Giving the growing health concerns related to the virus, the twice-a-year meetings of the development lending institutions, which attract thousands of officials, journalists and private sector participants from 180 member countries are not the best place to be. In fact, it is the type of gathering health authorities like the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised should be avoided.

“We remain fully committed to maintaining a productive dialogue with our stakeholders and will leverage our IT-related and virtual connection capabilities to the fullest to hold our essential policy consultations with the membership,” the statement said.

A number of events and meetings across the world have been cancelled or postponed due to the disease outbreak, one of which is the ASEAN summit the US President Donald Trump was scheduled to host later this month.

What you should know: Every year, the IMF and World Bank host meetings which include a host of side gatherings, panels, conferences, and related events all around in Washington — except every third year when the October meeting is moved to a member country. The official participant count is about 10,000.

While the spring meetings usually hold in April, the annual meetings hold in October. This is where finance ministers and central bank governors discuss global economic and financial developments.

In a recent Nairametrics report, the IMF and World Bank pledged to assist member countries to deal with the challenges posed by the outbreak of Coronavirus. The institutions pledged to use all necessary and available instruments including emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to assist nations, especially poor countries in handling the outbreak.

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