The International Monetary Fund approved Friday $2.7 billion in gold sales profits to boost financing to low-income countries.
The IMF executive board earmarked the money for the global lender's concessional lending program, the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.
The distribution of the windfall profits will occur “only when members have given satisfactory assurances that an amount equivalent to at least 90 percent of the distribution will be made available to the PRGT,” the institution said in a statement.
“This is a major step towards putting our important concessional lending operations for low-income members on a sustainable footing,” IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said.
“During the 2009 financial crisis, we were able to boost financial assistance to our low-income country members, helping them weather the storm and preserve their hard-fought gains in the battle against poverty.”
Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of activists advocating debt cancelation to fight poverty, cheered the board's decision, saying combined with a first installment of $1.1 billion, the IMF has put nearly $4 billion into the PRGT from the windfall gold profits.
“This translates into real relief for some of the world's poorest people,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network. “This has been a global campaign more than two years in the making and our work paid off.”
The IMF sold more than 400 tons of gold in 2009-2010 in a bid to put the Washington-based lender's finances on a sound long-term footing.
Due to the high price of gold at the time, the IMF booked $3.8 billion in profits.