World Bank to lend to Burma for first time in 25 years

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The World Bank has approved an $80m (£50m) grant and pledged lending for Burma, the second poorest country in Asia, for the first time in 25 years. The money will go to rural communities to build roads, bridges, schools and health clinics, the World Bank said. It comes after the current government began implementing economic, political and other reforms. Last month, the US lifted sanctions and restrictions on financial institutions lending to Burma. “I am heartened by the reforms that have been taking place in Myanmar [Burma] and encourage the government to continue to push forward with their efforts,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in a statement. Another $165m will be made available to Burma once the country has cleared its overdue debt to the bank, said Pamela Cox, World Bank vice-president for East Asia and the Pacific, in a conference call to reporters. Discussion will continue in coming months on how to allocate those funds.