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Latin American Presidents, IMF and IDB discuss how to deal with the effects of pandemic

The presidents of nine Latin American countries teleconferenced with senior executives of the IMF, the World Bank and the IDB to discuss how to face the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The meeting, which started at 14:00 GMT (8:00 a.m. CST) on Wednesday behind closed doors, includes the presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

Also present are the IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva; the president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno; his counterpart from the Development Bank of Latin America, Luis Carranza; the vice president of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, Felipe Jaramillo; and the Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan.

Sources close to the meeting indicated the group wants to publish a non-binding statement, which will be “an appeal to international financial institutions” to articulate a “novel” mechanism with which to face the effects of the pandemic in the region, which has been severely impacted.

The sources specified that the meeting is not intended to establish a figure of how much money must be invested, but rather to work on measures for the most affected sectors, the mobilization of credit guarantees or the carrying out of “swaps” between central banks to stabilize exchange rates.

The teleconference will raise the always thorny issue of “supervening” debt of many countries as a consequence of the epidemic, so that it can be made “sustainable,” with measures on a case-by-case basis.

Neither Brazil nor Mexico, the two largest Latin American economies, are represented at the meeting. (An invitation was issued from Madrid to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but he was impeded by scheduling problems.)

Sources said that the list of participants corresponds with countries that are representative of the subregions of the continent and with which they want to work in the most effective way.

The meeting has the theme “Together for an answer for Latin America and the Caribbean before COVID-19.”

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