The International Monetary Fund’s deployment of $818bn (R12.7-trillion), often without conditions, to help the world deal with the Covid pandemic has raised concern among some former officials that it is abandoning its focus as a hard-nosed lender of last resort for distressed economies.

The IMF last year allocated a record $650bn in reserves, called special drawing rights (SDRs), for its 190 member countries to deal with pandemic fallout. The fund also dedicated $168bn to help 87 countries deal with the pandemic. About half of the countries received support through the rapid financing instrument, a loan that comes mostly without conditions...

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