IMF, World Bank to hold annual meetings in quake-hit Morocco as scheduled

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank say their annual meetings will be held next month in Morocco as scheduled, despite a devastating earthquake hitting the country earlier this month.

The meetings were scheduled from October 9 through 15 in the central Moroccan city of Marrakech. But the magnitude 6.8 quake struck a mountainous area about 70 kilometers from the city on September 8, forcing the global institutions and Morocco to consider whether the event should be held as scheduled.

In a statement on Monday, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank President Ajay Banga and Morocco's Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah Alaoui said the meetings will proceed as scheduled, with some changes to adapt to the circumstances.

The statement said it is of utmost importance that they conduct the meetings "in a way that does not hamper the relief efforts under way and that is respectful to the victims and the Moroccan people."

The statement also said "At this very difficult time, we believe that the Annual Meetings also provide an opportunity for the international community to stand by Morocco and its people." It added that they remain committed to ensuring the safety of all participants.

Participants are expected to discuss rising prices of food and energy as well as the debt burden of developing countries which is increasing as some central banks raised interest rates.