Development Banks Return to Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar (dpa) - The World Bank and Asian Development Bank on Wednesday opened offices in Myanmar after a quarter-century hiatus although renewed lending would need to await the government's repayment of about 900 million dollars in arrears.
''We are committed to eradicating poverty, and the new office opening in Myanmar will allow us to reach some of the poorest people in East Asia,'' World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said.
The bank is seeking approval from its board to supply 85 million dollars in initial grants to poor rural communities in Myanmar to support development programs on the condition that the government agrees to repay its 397 million dollars in debt to the bank next year.
Myanmar, ranked among the world's poorest countries, has only recently seen the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by Western democracies in the aftermath of the army's crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in 1988, which left an estimated 3,000 people dead.
The World Bank, International Finance Corp and Asian Development Bank are all to share the office space in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city.
''Establishing an office in Myanmar allows us to deepen our understanding of the challenges facing the country and how best to offer assistance to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth,'' said Stephen Groff, the Asian Development Bank's vice president for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. …