World Bank unveils $6 billion in funding for Egypt and Tunisia

By Reuters
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 11:40 EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Tuesday unveiled $6 billion in funding to help Tunisia and Egypt address budget and reserve shortfalls this year and next, following popular uprisings that ended years of dictatorships but which have caused economic stress.

Zoellick said a Group of Eight meeting in France this week will discuss the transitions sweeping countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

He said the World Bank was working closely with the IMF, which is overseeing a separate funding package focused on macroeconomic stability. An IMF mission is currently in Egypt, he added.

For Egypt, the World Bank plans to make available $4.5 billion over the next 24 months, including $1 billion this year in budget support and another $1 billion next year depending on how far political and economic reforms have advanced.

The remaining $2.5 billion will be invested in development projects in Egypt, lending to support the private sector, and political risk guarantees.

For Tunisia, the World Bank plans $1 billion in support for the budget and investment projects, beyond the $500 million already announced to help the government, Zoellick added.

In addition, the World Bank plans to lend up to $400 million for private-sector projects and another $100 million in investment guarantees, said Zoellick. He said the funding will be disbursed following World Bank board approval next month.

He noted that Tunisia’s interim government was also dealing with the cost of an estimated 50,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Libya, with some 6,000 to 7,000 in U.N. camps.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Top News

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