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WASHINGTON: The world's richest nations must do more to help the poorest countries withstand the "devastating double-blow" of the pandemic and the resulting economic damage, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday. Warning of a "deepening divergence" between rich and poor, she called on the G20 to take urgent steps to keep developing nations from falling further behind in vaccine access and funding to repair their fortunes.

In a blog post ahead of this week's meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers, the head of the International Monetary Fund said "speed is of the essence" but the price tag is relatively small.

"Poorer nations are facing a devastating double-blow" losing the race against the virus and missing out on key investments that will help lay the groundwork for economic growth, Georgieva said.

"It is a critical moment that calls for urgent action by the G20 and policymakers across the globe," she said.

While the United States is poised to grow by its fastest pace since 1984 and countries like China and the euro area are gaining momentum, the developing world is being left behind by a "worsening two-track recovery, driven by dramatic differences in vaccine availability, infection rates, and the ability to provide policy support."

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