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.
“ 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.
Senegal’s Health Minister, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, said on Monday that the country has confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
The patient is a French man who lives in Senegal and flew back from France on 26 February, Mr Sarr told a press conference in the capital, Dakar.
The patient reported to a private hospital on 27 February with symptoms, including a headache.
The authorities are monitoring everyone who travelled on the same flight as well as the patient’s family.
The minister said the country was prepared to deal with the virus, pointing out that Senegal had the facilities to test for the coronavirus.
This is the second case in sub-Saharan Africa after one was confirmed in Nigeria last week, BBC reports.
Also, Tunisia confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, the country’s health minister told journalists on Monday.
Abdelatif el-Maki said the patient was a 40-year-old Tunisian man, who arrived in the country by boat from Italy on 27 February.
He and the other passengers had been advised to monitor themselves. When his fever spiked, he contacted emergency services.
In Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Senrgal and Nigeria have all confirmed cases of the virus.
The Nigerian Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has applauded Governor Udom Emmanuel on his approach to governance and national development, describing him as the face of the new Nigerian politician. Senator Lawan gave the commendation while speaking at the 60th birthday anniversary celebration and thanksgiving service of Senator Akon Eyakenyi, representative of Akwa Ibom South senatorial district at Destiny International Mission, Uyo, on Sunday. He described Governor Emmanuel as a very decent person, a tolerant leader and a purpose driven administrator who would work across party lines to achieve development objectives. He said the governor is one of Nigeria’s leaders to look up to as he fits into the country’s desired new political dispensation. “I want to say something about his Excellency, the Governor [Udom Emmanuel]. As a politician, he is a decent man, very decent; as a practicing politician, he is a very tolerant leader. “Here is one elected leader who believes we should all work together to deliver service to Nigerians. Your Excellency I commend you”. Senator Lawan stated that politics of the new Nigeria, which the 9th Senate stands for, is defined to a large extent, by how to reach a desired destination in service delivery, devoid of partisanship and rancour. “Governor Emmanuel represents such a new dispensation”. He said, pointing out that the large turnout of senators at the event, irrespective of party affiliations, is a testimony to the sense of comradeship among the Akwa Ibom contingent in the Senate. He thanked the people of Akwa Ibom state for sustaining the qualitative leadership. In his remarks, Governor Emmanuel thanked the Senate President for leading distinguished senators to celebrate with their colleague, Senator Akon Eyakeyin. He acknowledged the wide acceptance of the Senate leadership, headed by Dr. Ahmad Lawan and described the 9th assembly as one of the most peaceful in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.
Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, said this when he led the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, on a tour of the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertiliser projects.
Dangote said a pre-testing of the fertiliser plant had already begun, adding that the project would be the largest fertiliser plant in the world with its three million tonnes per annum capacity.
He said it would make Nigeria the only Urea exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating $2.5 billion annually.
According to him, the amount is almost 10 per cent of what Nigeria is getting from home remittances, which is one of the highest in the world.
Dangote also disclosed that the refinery project, which was 48 per cent completed, would make Nigeria the largest exporter of petroleum products in Africa.
”One of the reasons the CBN is supporting us is that by the time we become operational, we will not only be creating jobs, but we will reduce the outflow of foreign exchange; not only in petroleum products, but in petrochemicals and fertilisers.
“We will be one of the highest foreign exchange generating companies going forward.
“I must really confess that without the government’s support, there is no way we could have done what we have done so far.
“I think we must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his policies. I thank the CBN governor and management for bringing down interest rates to encourage more entrepreneurs to go into mega projects like this.
“We should not wait for foreign investors to come and develop our economy.
“It will never happen. So we have to do it ourselves and the only way to do it is to take advantage of the low interest rates, and the banks being forced to loan money out.”
Emefiele, commended the Dangote Group for its commitment toward bringing the project on stream as planned and expressed satisfaction with the facilities on site.
“The reason that I am here today is to see what is going on on site.
“This time that the economy is going through its own challenges, there is need for us to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil to other areas where we have abundant resources. ”
Emefiele said the fertiliser plant would stop importation of fertilisers, as about 25 per cent of its products would be used for domestic consumption to boost agriculture in the country.
According to him, the plant will also generate a minimum of $750 million through export annually.
“The 650,000BPD-capacity refinery, when operational, will not only satisfy local consumption but will also position Nigeria as a major exporter of petroleum products.
“Nigeria is so central, and this refinery will serve almost the whole of Africa, which will lead to cheap cost of freight.
“This project is so strategically positioned that it will even make the final price of petroleum within Nigeria and even outside Nigeria to be lower than those imported outside the African continent.
“We need to encourage other Nigerians and we will keep saying this, Nigerians must stand tall and be ready to come out and support their country,” the CBN governor said.
He disclosed that apart from the low interest rate regime, the government was also putting other policies in place to rejuvenate industries and create employment opportunities for the citizenry.
“This is the time for other Nigerians who have been making money in services to come out and join Dangote to help us grow the economy because government alone cannot grow the economy
“We will want to support any Nigerian or foreigner who finds Nigeria as a good investment destination. Whatever we need to do to help you, we will do it.
“That is why we are forcing the banks today that they must do what is right by lending to credible persons and act as catalyst to our economic development,” Emefiele said.