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Microsoft Deal Shows Up Rich-Poor Gulf: World Bank Head

World Bank head calls on richest nations to provide more debt relief to least-developed countries that qualify for interest-free loans

Call of Duty games made by Activision sit on shelves in a New York City store. Photo: Reuters.


Microsoft’s deal to spend up to $75 billion on a video game company throws light on poor countries facing higher debt loads, World Bank president David Malpass said on Wednesday.

Malpass has called on the richest nations in the Group of 20 to provide more debt relief to the world’s least-developed countries that qualify for interest-free loans.

“I was struck this morning by the Microsoft investment – $75 billion in a video gaming company” compared to just $24 billion over three years in aid for the poorest countries, Malpass said.

He was referring to donations allocated in December by 48 high- and middle-income governments.

“You have to wonder [if] is this the best allocation of capital,” he said of the Microsoft deal in a discussion at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There has to be more money and growth flowing into the developing countries.”

A G20 debt service suspension initiative expired at the end of 2021, and this year alone, those countries must pay $35 billion in debt service. “The debt payments are staggering,” and it has become a “compounding” problem, Malpass said.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the purchase of US gaming giant Activision Blizzard, the firm behind hits like “Call of Duty.”


  • AFP with additional editing by George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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