This is to support the economies of countries fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

A release issued by the IMF Executive Board approved a framework for a new round of bilateral borrowing by the Fund from January 1, 2021, to succeed the current bilateral borrowing agreements (BBAs) currently in place through end-December 2020.

The framework is broadly the same as that agreed in 2016 for the current BBAs.

However, the new BBAs will have an initial term of three years through the end-2023, which is extendable by one more year through to the end-2024.

These new agreements will ensure that the IMF’s lending capacity of US$1 trillion for the next few years is maintained to respond to members’ needs.

The BBAs are the IMF’s third line of defence after quotas and the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB).

“Today’s Executive Board decision is part of a broader package on IMF resources and governance reform endorsed by the IMF membership during the 2019 Annual Meetings, and builds on the Boards' January 2020 approval of a doubling of the NAB and guidance on quota reforms”, a statement from the IMF said.

The new BBAs and the doubling of the NAB will take effect on January 1, 2021. This is subject to timely approvals by creditor member countries and their institutions.

The Fund said these are measures to ensure that it can support its membership through the global pandemic and beyond.

Ghana, for instance, is seeking to borrow some millions of dollars from the IMF to fight the coronavirus pandemic.