WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – World Bank President Robert Zoellick said yesterday that $49.3 billion had been pledged by rich and emerging market countries to help the poorest nations during a drive to replenish a fund devoted to that purpose.
In a conference call at the conclusion of a two-day drive to raise money for the International Development Association, or IDA, Zoellick said that represented an 18 percent increase from the last such effort three years ago.
He called it a remarkable accomplishment, given the tougher economic conditions many countries face, but declined to specify how much the United States or any other individual country was putting up.
IDA is the world’s largest fund for the poor, offering grants and interest-free loans for such basic purposes as providing clean water, sanitation and improved maternal care to the world’s neediest.
It is replenished, or topped up with new money or pledges of money, at three-year intervals.
Donors met in Brussels at the start of this week to make their pledges and Zoellick expressed gratitude for their willingness to contribute at a time when domestic budgets are under pressure and much of the world is still struggling to recover from the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
“Many have stretched at a time of economic pain at home,” Zoellick said, but added it was necessary for them to do so.
“This is not charity,” he said. “It’s an investment in peaceand progress and it’s making a difference.”