France Media Agency

December 24, 2021 | 00h00

Washington – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it has approved the fifth and final round of debt relief as part of a program to help the world’s poorest countries overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

Washington-based crisis lender’s $ 115 million in Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) assistance affects debt service payments for 25 member states between January 11 and April 13 of the year next, the IMF said in a statement.

In the statement, the IMF said its directors considered the CCRT relief to have “helped its poorest and most vulnerable members to free up resources to fight the pandemic and its aftermath,” although they warn that not all of the money promised for the trust was received.

The CCRT enables the IMF to provide grants to the poorest and most vulnerable countries affected by a natural disaster or a public health crisis, and was requested by the fund in April 2020 to contribute to the response to the pandemic of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has said it will “postpone its annual meeting in Davos … in light of continuing uncertainty over the Omicron variant” of the coronavirus.

The large-scale meeting scheduled for Jan. 17-21, which typically attracts prominent figures from business, politics and diplomacy, will instead be held in “early summer,” organizers said.

Last year’s edition was canceled due to the pandemic, and Swiss authorities recently sharply tightened health restrictions to control a fifth wave of coronavirus.

“Despite the meeting’s strict health protocols, Omicron’s transmissibility and its impact on travel and mobility made a postponement necessary,” WEF said.

Instead, the organization will host online “state of the world” sessions to engage world leaders.

Forum leader Klaus Schwab pledged “the further digital convening of business, government and civil society leaders”.

“We look forward to bringing the leaders together in person soon,” he added.

The Davos meeting in January 2021, held virtually because of the pandemic, came at the height of disputes over vaccine distribution between rich and less well-off countries and manufacturers.