Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen called on Sunday for international creditors to step up their efforts to provide debt to developing countries facing default, arguing that bolstering their deteriorating finances would benefit the global economy.

Speaking in Gandhinagar, India, ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers, Ms Yellen cited a recent agreement between international creditors, including China, to help Zambia pay its debts. She said the deal, which took more than a year to negotiate, should be a plan to help other nations, such as Ghana and Sri Lanka, to tackle debt and restore growth.

“We should apply the common principles we agreed on in the case of Zambia in other cases rather than starting from scratch each time,” Ms Yellen said. “And we have to go faster.”

The Treasury secretary noted that more than half of low-income countries are in or near debt distress—double the total from 2015. These nations face a vicious cycle as heavy public debt levels make it difficult to attract public and private investment.

“When these countries develop and contribute to the global economy, we all benefit,” Ms. Yellen said.

Last month, the government of Zambia hailed a deal that ensures a three-year moratorium on payments on $6.3 billion of debt, most of it to Chinese lenders. That cleared the way for the IMF will release $188 million in aid funds under a $1.3 billion bailout. The arrangement came only after a year and a half of torturous negotiations that left Zambia’s finances in a precarious state.

Ms. Yellen said she would urge her G20 counterparts to step up efforts to allow poor countries to restructure their debt and provide more clarity for borrowers about how the restructuring should work.

Her trip to India comes less than a week after she returned from Beijing, where she held meetings with senior Chinese officials on how to stabilize the relationship between the United States and China.

Beyond debt relief, finance ministers are expected to discuss international efforts to modernize the World Bank and other regional development banks.

Finance ministers are expected to continue discussing international support for Ukraine, which has been a contentious issue within the G20. Russia is a member of the group, and several countries, including India, have tried to remain neutral in the conflict.

In her remarks on Sunday, Ms. Yellen made it clear that the United States and its Western allies have no intention of reducing support for Ukraine.

“Our coalition’s support for Ukraine is unequivocal,” Ms. Yellen said. “The United States will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. And I know the allies and partners in our coalition will as well.”

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