IMF approves $7.6 mln debt relief to Burundi to cushion Covid-19 effects


NAIROBI, July 21 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Monday it had approved $7.6 million debt relief to Burundi to help address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said the relief for three months would be potentially raised to $24.97 million over the next 21 months, if resources are available.

"IMF debt relief will help free up resources for public sector health needs including other emergency spending and help mitigate the balance of payments shock posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," the IMF said in a statement.

The IMF said it has revised downwards economic growth projections for 2020 by 5.3 percentage points to -3.2 percent this year.

"The pandemic has exacerbated preexisting economic challenges and creates significant external financing needs in 2020 and 2021, mainly as a result of lower exports, elevated imports needs, and reduced remittances inflows," it said.

Burundi has so far had 328 cases of COVID-19 and one death.

(Reporting by Nairobi Newsroom; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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