Yellen Tells Faith Leaders Poor Nations Need Help on Covid-19

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a group of religious leaders on Tuesday that low-income nations needed continued international support to deal with Covid-19.

Yellen told the leaders that she views the possible creation of new International Monetary Fund reserve assets called special drawing rights, or SDRs, as part of wider aid for poor countries, the Treasury Department said in a statement. That includes IMF financing, multilateral development bank grants and loans, debt rescheduling and relief through the Group of 20’s common framework, the Treasury said.

Yellen Tells Faith Leaders Poor Nations Need Help on Covid-19

Yellen also pledged that the Biden administration would deploy the full power of the U.S. federal government to address climate change as part of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan.

“The secretary observed that the pandemic has accelerated global economic inequality, and with limited policy space, low-income countries will need continued international support to address the Covid-19 crisis,” the Treasury added in the statement.

The group of leaders who met with Yellen via video on Tuesday included representatives from U.S. Christian and Jewish communities organized by Jubilee USA Network, a non-profit organization that advocates for debt relief for developing countries. They were joined by a representative from the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor group.

The IMF is working on a plan to provide $500 billion to member nations after the G-20 last month urged the fund to propose a fresh allocation of its reserve assets. A final decision likely would come closer to the IMF’s spring meetings April 9-11.

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