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The International Monetary Fund's executive board has approved a $124 million extension of IMF debt relief to 24 low-income countries through Jan. 10, 2022, the Fund said on Friday.

The approval of a fourth tranche of debt relief from the IMF's Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust brings the total relief offered since the April 2020 to about $973 million, the IMF said. The move effectively suspends the debt service for eligible countries on their IMF debts for the next three months.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the IMF launched an effort to raise $1.4 billion in grants for the catastrophe trust to provide debt relief. So far donors including Britain, Japan, Germany and other European and Asian countries have pledged some $860 million to the effort so far.

The board agreed that the Kyrgyzstan and Lesotho met the eligibility requirements for the debt service relief and included them in the fourth tranche.

The statement issued on Friday did not name all of the countries that will IMF receive debt relief in the latest round, but noted that Afghanistan will not be included because the Fund has suspended engagement with the Taliban government that seized control of the country in August.

Past statements have named the following recipients of IMF debt relief: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen. 

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