World Bank Fund for Poorest Gets $52 Billion More Funding

The World Bank’s fund for helping the world’s most impoverished people will receive a record $52 billion replenishment from donor nations and other sources over three years, the lender said today.

The funding obtained for the International Development Association, the unit that makes low-interest loans and grants to the poorest countries, represents a 5.5 percent increase from the amount pledged in 2010. It will come mostly from 46 developed and developing economies, with the bank’s other units contributing about $3 billion, the lender said.

“We are deeply appreciative of the extraordinary efforts made by countries, many of which are facing their own economic challenges, to stretch to help the poorest,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a release. “We are committed to making the most of every scarce development dollar to create new opportunities and bring about transformational change in the lives of poor people.”

To attract funds at a time when countries from France to the U.S. rein in spending, the Washington-based bank for the first time allowed nations to make part of their contributions through concessional loans instead of just grants. In a shift from previous years, emerging markets played “a very large role,” Kim said without disclosing amounts pledged that won’t be made public until March.

“We were extremely pleased with the participation of the emerging-market countries,” he said on a conference call.

About $4 billion out of the total $52 billion came from the new concessional loan system, according to the bank.

IDA, which provides financing to 82 countries, half of which are in Africa, is the main arm for Kim’s dual goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in developing economies. Services that this round of financing will provide include vaccines for 200 million children and microfinance loans for more than 1 million women, according to the bank.

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