Tuesday 14 August 2018

World Bank seals $13bn cash boost

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speaks at a news conference ahead of the spring meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, U.S. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speaks at a news conference ahead of the spring meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, U.S. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Andrew Mayeda

The World Bank won support from its member countries for a $13bn (€10.6bn) capital increase, with the US dropping its objection as the lender imposes measures that would potentially reduce loans to China.

The boost will be ­accompanied by internal steps "including operational changes and effectiveness reforms, loan pricing measures, and other policy steps," the World Bank said in a statement after ­policy-makers met on Saturday in Washington.

China will probably "gradually" end up borrowing less from the World Bank under the new system, which will charge higher rates of interest to wealthier countries, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim told reporters. He said the bank will increase annual lending to about $80bn (€65bn), from $59bn (€48bn) in the year ended June 2017.

The US dropped objections to the capital boost after previously advocating for a limit on the World Bank's resources and questioning why it lends so much to China, given the nation's growing economic clout and ability to raise money in financial markets. The World Bank's mission is to reduce poverty around the world.

But countries such as the UK had been pushing for a capital increase, arguing the lender needs more firepower to finance projects in developing countries.

Under the new agreement, the World Bank will focus more on lending to "low middle-income countries," Mr Kim said at the bank's annual spring meetings in Washington.

The development lender classifies China as an "upper middle-income" nation. The new plan will give China more voting power at the institution, however. Its voting share in the bank's main fund will rise to 5.7pc from 4.5pc. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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