A growing number of poor countries, some already in humanitarian crisis, will soon have to choose between servicing their lenders or helping their most vulnerable citizens, as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are warning that the tools to deal with a looming debt crisis aren’t up to the job.

Low-income nations were due to pay at least $40 billion to banks and bondholders this year, and plans to pause some of those interest payments – let alone cancel any of the principal – are patchy and “too shallow”, according to the World Bank.

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