World Bank to reach deal on vote change – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World Bank member  countries reached a preliminary agreement on a 3.13 per cent  shift in voting power to give emerging and developing nations  greater influence in the global institution.

World Bank officials, who agreed to talk on condition of  anonymity, said the shift would increase the votes of the  developing world to 47.19 per cent.

“There is a 99 per cent chance this (deal) is closed,” one  World Bank source told Reuters.

The battle over influence at the aid-focused bank is part  of efforts to reflect the growing clout of developing economies  on the world stage and an important precursor to a similar move  on the International Monetary Fund.

The agreement will be confirmed today when member  countries convene at meetings on the World Bank’s Development  Committee. A final decision will be decided in a vote by member  countries.

“Nothing is done until our shareholder countries meet  tomorrow at the Development Committee,” World Bank spokesman  Carl Hanlon said.

Earlier, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn  tipped journalists off to a possible World Bank agreement  during a news conference, saying “they achieved their shift in  quota … but at least I won’t talk on behalf of Mr  Zoellick.”

The 3.13 per cent shift would amount to a contribution by  the parties getting the extra power of about $1.6 billion in  resources for the poverty-fighting global institution.

The talks have been difficult because advanced economies,  especially those in Europe, have been unwilling to give up some  of their voting shares, and the United States is holding on to  its veto power.

Smaller European countries have been concerned that even a  small change in their voting power would mean a marked  reduction in their influence.

Earlier this week, World Bank President Robert Zoellick  urged the Bank’s 186 member countries to set aside differences  to reach an agreement by today, the last day of the IMF and  World Bank meetings.

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