ADB, World Bank extend loans to Myanmar

Jan. 27, 2013 at 11:13 PM
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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Myanmar, under its reform-minded government, will get a $512 million Asian Development Bank loan in addition to a $440 million credit from the World Bank.

The ADB, headquartered in Manila, said the $512 million loan marked the resumption of its operations in Myanmar after about three decades and said Myanmar's re-emergence with key reforms in governance and the financial sector have progressed to a point where the government can work more closely with development partners to assess the country's most pressing needs.

The loan will be used for social and economic development to alleviate poverty and foster growth, the ADB said on its web site.

"This is a historic tipping point for Myanmar," said Stephen Groff, the bank's head of operations for the region. "To be sure the country is best positioned to benefit from the resumption of donor aid, we are focusing first on the building blocks for stability and sustainability, which will ultimately lead to major investments in road, energy, irrigation and education projects, as well as investments in other sectors."

ADB said its loan was made possible through bridge financing to the Myanmar government this month by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Myanmar, formerly called Burma, has made significant democratic and other reforms under its new civilian government which took over in November 2011 after decades of brutal military rule. The reforms have helped it get out of tough sanctions imposed by the West.

The World Bank said its $440 million credit will support critical reforms implemented by the Myanmar government to strengthen macroeconomic stability, improve public financial management and improve the investment climate.

"Myanmar has come a long way in its economic transformation, undertaking unprecedented reforms to improve people's lives, especially the poor and vulnerable," said World Bank Myanmar country director Annette Dixon.

The World Bank has said Myanmar recorded a 5.5 percent growth in fiscal year 2011-12, which is expected to reach 6.3 percent in fiscal 2012-2013.

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