World Bank says $49.3 bln pledged to help poorest

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.

Robert Zoellick

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.”

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