WB OKs funds to Myanmar as Muslims continue to suffer



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Saturday 3 November 2012

Last update 3 November 2012 1:36 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

SITTWE, Myanmar: Despite the massacre and atrocities perpetrated on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the World Bank has announced fresh aid to the government. Muslims in Myanmar are being killed and forced to flee their villages and cities. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since June in two major spasms of violence in western Rakhine state.
The World Bank announced yesterday it will inject $245 million of aid into Myanmar to support its reform drive, resuming assistance for the former pariah nation after a quarter-century absence, officials said Friday. The Bank has earmarked $80 million for a grant and $165 million for a no-interest loan for poverty alleviation schemes, including microfinance, according to the bank’s office in Yangon.
Infrastructure projects in villages in rural areas would be among the beneficiaries, the bank said after its board of directors in Washington approved a new strategy for helping the former junta-ruled country.
“We want the people of Myanmar and the poor in particular to see the reform can lead to real benefits,” said Kanthan Shankar, the World Bank’s country manager for Myanmar.
“We are here to help Myanmar reduce poverty by strengthening institutions... supporting projects for the poor,” he added, citing building the capacity of banks and providing funds for microfinance and infrastructure as priorities.
Despite rich natural resources, almost one-third of Myanmar’s population lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
The Washington-based institution closed its Yangon office in 1987 and ceased new lending after the then-ruling junta stopped making payments on debts worth hundreds of millions of dollars left from previous programs.
A hurdle for the resumption of aid has been how to deal with the unpaid money, including arrears of almost $400 million owed to the World Bank.
The Bank, which opened a new office in Yangon in August, said Friday that it was working with Japan and the Asian Development Bank to resolve the issue and expected to clear the arrears in early 2013.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has overseen a series of dramatic reforms since taking office last year, including the release of political prisoners and the election of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to Parliament.
In response, the West has begun rolling back sanctions and foreign firms are lining up to invest in the country, eying its huge natural resources, large population and strategic location between China and India.
Japan agreed in April to forgive $3.8 billion of Myanmar’s bilateral debt, as donors rally to help the nation’s battered economy.
Myanmar also owes roughly $500 million to the Asian Development Bank, which is returning to the country for the first time since 1988.
The country was once known as the “rice bowl of Asia” because of its agricultural riches. But economic mismanagement during nearly 50 years of direct military rule left the country deeply impoverished.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education is planning to increase the role of its subsidiary committees in the region and governorates to address the issue of schools increasing the fees on one pretext or another.A source in the ministry has been quoted as s...
DAMMAM: All Saudi airports, particularly King Fahd International Airport (KFIA) in Dammam, lack a tourism attraction strategy which requires a formal decision from the government, said Saeed Al-Qahtani, an investor in the tourism sector.He said: “In...
JEDDAH: Interpol is looking for two Saudis — a former Jeddah mayor and former president of a sports club — who have been convicted in cases related to the 2009 flash floods here.The ex-mayor was sentenced to seven years in prison while the sports off...
RIYADH: The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently discussed here the scope of cooperation with the Kingdom’s Public Education Evaluation Commission (PEEC) in the field of education.The delegation was headed...
RIYADH: Investors and proprietors of recruitment offices have blamed the Ministry of Labor for the rise in the number of illegal brokers, saying that some of the rules are actually counterproductive and promoting black market.The ministry has put a c...
DAMMAM: A period of 20 months will be granted to deliver residential apartments for beneficiaries in the Eastern Province, starting from the day of delivering land to developers, and not from the date of signing the contract with them, according to a...
ALKHOBAR: Bribery can be eliminated by applying the laws strictly and creating public awareness besides an active role by citizens, experts say.Abdulrahman Al-Zahian, a researcher in legal affairs and public policy, said: “The Saudi anti-bribery law...
JEDDAH: Zuhair Rahbeeni, a consultant at the Pediatric and Clinical Genetics Department of Medical Genetics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, said that the criteria used for premarital health examinations fall short of proper st...
JEDDAH: The police in Jeddah found a runaway girl after 17 days. A news website reported that she had gone missing after she took a taxi on one of Jeddah's roads.The mother of the girl said that the police found the girl on Friday after 17 days. She...
JEDDAH: Since the launch of the Asir Initiative, “Asir … a major tourism destination all year round,” under the patronage of Asir Governor and Chairman of the Tourism Development Council Prince Faisal bin Khalid at the end of 2013, the region has man...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU), which is leading the vanguard in promoting and supporting scientific research in the Kingdom, will host the Saudi international conference on scientific publishing for 2015 to discuss issues and challenges surround...
RIYADH: The National Committee for Contractors (NCC) at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) and representatives from the Ministry of Labor denied on Sunday delays in releasing SR2,400 in compensation to contractors once the criteria have been finaliz...
MAKKAH: Being at the front of the House of God and the peace and tranquility in the Grand Mosque are feelings that cannot be described, said Egyptian pilgrim Abdul Rahman Mustafa.The Umrah pilgrim appeared to be very happy and content. “Thank God, I...
DAMMAM: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman and Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif will jointly sponsor the 3rd Saudi Conventions and Exhibitions Forum (Saudicef), scheduled for Nov. 8...
RIYADH: Every year, Saudis prepare for Eid Al-Fitr festivities with great joy and excitement. For children it is both fun and new clothes, which parents buy for them.With ten days to go until Eid Al-Fitr, shoppers were making a beeline to malls and o...

Stay Connected

Facebook