Monday, October 11, 2010

World Bank asks for more money from rich nations

The head of the World Bank is asking for more money from rich nations. Robert Zoellick wants the rich nations to renew their contributions to a World Bank fund that gives low to no interest loans to the poorest nations. Zoellick says that not contributing to this fund will devastate the fight against poverty and will hurt achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

From the Guardian, writer Larry Elliot provides some quotes from Zoellick and a response from Brittan.

The bank is seeking donations to replenish its International Development Association (IDA) fund. This provides soft loans and grants to the 79 poorest countries. Zoellick wants to at least match the $41bn (£26bn) raised for the last three-year programme. "Lack of support for the IDA would devastate the effort to achieve the millennium development goals," Zoellick said. "What was very clear to me at recent UN meetings was that it is critical not to see these goals as independent, but to connect the dots that show their inter-relationship.

"And the IDA is maybe the only concessional funding system that offers grants or no-interest loans to allow countries with a sense of ownership to connect their development efforts with donor efforts from other countries."

Officials from donor countries will meet in Washington tomorrow to gauge support for the 16th round of IDA funding, with the aim of making pledges by the year end.

Britain was the biggest single donor to IDA 15, providing more than £2bn, but International development secretary Andrew Mitchell said it was too early to say how he would respond to the appeal.

Mitchell said Britain's contribution would depend on his department's multilateral aid review, a study launched by the government into how well money provided by Britain is spent by international organisations such as the bank and UN.

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