IMF approves $363 million in virus aid to DR Congo

WASHINGTON, USA – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday, April 22, announced emergency aid of $363 million to fight the new coronavirus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an African nation that had also been battling Ebola and militia attacks.

"DRC is experiencing a severe shock as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," an IMF statement said.

"The short-term economic outlook has deteriorated quickly due to the fall of minerals' prices and the impact of needed containment and mitigation measures."

Mineral exports, particularly to China, are the impoverished country's main revenue source.

The IMF approved a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility equivalent to about $363 million to help the DRC meet urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the pandemic. 

Additional support from other development partners is expected to close the remaining gap and ease budget financing needs, the Washington-based IMF said.

It said DRC authorities made a firm response to the pandemic including an increase in health-related spending but domestic revenue mobilization has suffered and foreign exchange reserves have come under pressure, while the central bank announced liquidity support.

The DRC has recorded at least 21 dead from COVID-19 out of more than 250 cases since March 10, almost all in Kinshasa.

Last Friday, April 17, the IMF and World Bank warned that Africa needs tens of billions of dollars in additional money to fight the coronavirus pandemic despite debt freezes and massive pledges of support– Rappler.com