After Covid-19, it's in everyone's interest to help the world's poorest countries

As countries with weak health systems attempt to fight the virus, we can expect an increase in measles, malaria, cholera and other disease as vaccinations are put on hold, health systems buckle under the strain and medical supply chains are disrupted. But it is an affordable sum, equivalent to just 1% of the global stimulus package the world’s richest countries have put in place to save the global economy. About two-thirds of it could come from organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They will need support to change the terms on which they help the most vulnerable countries: front-loading money, reduced interest rates and further debt relief. These are countries where many people are losing their freedoms, their jobs and their loved ones and countries making significant sacrifices while facing an uncertain future. But it is precisely at this moment when those sacrifices are starting to pay off, and as those countries seek to reopen their economies, it makes sense also to support the most vulnerable. Recent history shows us that what happens in the world’s most fragile places has knock-on effects, whether it’s through uncontrolled migration, terrorism or global instability.

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