Data: IIF; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A debt standstill looks unworkable in the U.S., but it might yet be possible in Africa.

Driving the news: The biggest names in African finance are urging the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to announce a "standstill" on the continent's external debt obligations.

  • If all African countries stopped making principal and interest payments on their bonds for the rest of this year, that would save the continent some $44 billion, Brookings senior fellow Brahima Coulibaly tells Axios. That money could then be used to directly address the costs associated with the health crisis.

How it works: By encouraging all African countries to default on their bonds (as well as on bilateral debt), the IMF would minimize the cost of default for any individual nation. Meanwhile, rich-country governments could try to pressure bondholders to avoid a rush to New York and London courts in the midst of a global pandemic.

Between the lines: Such a standstill only works for sovereign debt, says Coulibaly. African corporations also need debt-service relief — the liquidity required to pay the principal and interest on their bonds —  but Coulibaly says they should turn first to their governments, rather than their faceless capital-markets creditors.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 31,175,205 — Total deaths: 962,076— Total recoveries: 21,294,229Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,829,956 — Total deaths: 199,690 — Total recoveries: 2,590,695 — Total tests: 95,121,596Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Democrats on Monday released their proposal for short-term legislation to fund the government through December 11.

Why it matters: This is Congress' chief legislative focus before the election. They must pass a continuing resolution (CR) before midnight on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — something both Hill leaders and the White House have claimed is off the table.