G20 should start talks on reducing debts of poorest countries: World Bank chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - World Bank President David Malpass on Saturday urged the Group of 20 major economies to extend a freeze in official debt payments by the poorest countries through the end of 2021, and said they should start talks on reducing the debt of some countries.

Malpass told a virtual meeting of G20 finance officials that some major official creditors were not participating fully in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), and private creditors should stop collecting payments from the poorest countries.

“Even with these immediate steps ... many of the poorest countries won’t be able to make the resulting debt burdens sustainable in the medium term,” he said. “I urge the G20 to open the door to consultations about the debt overhang itself and effective ways to reduce the net present value of both official bilateral and commercial debt for the poorest countries.”

Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis