Coronavirus: IMF, World Bank confirm virtual format for Spring meetings

File: a past spring meeting of IMF:World Bank in session

An IMF/World Bank Spring meeting in session

An IMF/World Bank Spring meeting in session

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday confirmed that their 2020 Spring Meetings slated for April 17 to April 19 in Washington DC would now hold in “virtual format’’.

What this means is that instead of delegates converging physically in Washington, they would now link up from their various locations through video, audio and text channels.

The announcement came in a joint statement signed by President of the World Bank Group, Mr David Malpass, and the Managing Director of IMF, Mrs Kristalina Georgieva.

Malpass and Georgieva hinged the decision on concerns about the fast-spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the “human tragedy surrounding it’’.

Held at the World Bank and IMF headquarters in the U.S capital, the spring meetings usually brought together government officials, business leaders, representatives civil society, journalists and observers from around the world.

“Given growing health concerns related to the virus, the management of the IMF and world bank group and their Executive Boards have agreed to implement a joint plan to adapt the 2020 IMF-World Bank spring meetings to a virtual format.

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“ Our goal is to serve our membership effectively, while ensuring the health and safety of spring meetings participants and staff.

“We remain fully committed to maintaining a productive dialogue with our stakeholders and will leverage our IT-related and virtual connection capabilities to the fullest, to hold our essential policy consultations with the membership.

“We will also continue to share IMF and World Bank analyses.

“With this adapted format, we are confident that our member countries will be able to effectively engage on pressing global economic issues at these spring meetings,” they said.

Consequently, registration for all categories of participants had been suspended and all previous confirmations cancelled, the IMF said in a mail to intending participants.

“Official delegates who will participate in the official sessions will receive further instructions from the Secretary and from the office of their Executive Director of the respective institutions,’’ it added.