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ADB and World Bank grant $952m loan for Burma

“This is a historic tipping point for Myanmar”.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank have granted loans worth $512m and $440m respectively for the social and economic development of Burma.

The country, also known as Myanmar, has repaid overdue arrears to the banks with the support of Japan.

Annette Dixon, country director for Myanmar at the World Bank, said: “Myanmar has come a long way in its economic transformation, undertaking unprecedented reforms to improve people's lives, especially the poor and vulnerable. Much work remains to be done. We are committed to helping the government accelerate poverty reduction and build shared prosperity”

“The Bank’s engagement, together with the ADB, the Government of Japan and other partners, will help attract investment, spur growth and create jobs,” Dixon added.

The agriculturally potential country has rich natural gas reserves. According to the World Bank forecasts, Burma’s economy will expand by 6.3 per cent in fiscal year 2012-13, an increase of 5.5 per cent compared to 2011-12.

Groff said that the bank’s loan will help Burma lay the foundation for sustainable growth “which will ultimately lead to major investments in road, energy, irrigation and education projects, as well as investments in other sectors”.

The World Bank started lending to Burma in 2011 after a gap of 25 years, while the ADB approved its current loan to the country after almost 30 years.

In addition, the Paris Club, an informal group of creditors, has cancelled its claims worth $534m related to Burma. The group has also agreed to reschedule the payment of the remaining loan in 15 years.

Meanwhile, Japan is also considering cancelling its over $3bn arrears related to Burma.