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WB steps up help to Myanmar

Washington, Feb 16: The World Bank Group is strengthening its engagement with Myanmar to help enhance the Southeast Asian nation’s infrastructure and capacity building, a senior Bank official said.

There is "an enormous amount of work to be done" to improve Myanmar’s infrastructure and boost its economic development, and there is also enormous commitment from the international community to support the efforts, Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, said at a press briefing here.

The Washington-based development agency is discussing with the government of Myanmar to invest in electricity generation projects powered by gas turbines to give 5 million more people reliable power supply, as only 1 in 4 people in the country have access to electricity, said van Trotsenburg, who paid a visit to Myanmar earlier this month.

The World Bank is identifying possible sites to install new gas turbines that are 2.5 times more efficient than the existing ones, which are 30 to 40 years old, noted van Trotsenburg, who assumed his current position Feb 1.

"We have a lot of expertise in many areas where we can be supportive, and therefore I think we could be responsive to many needs," he said in response to questions from Xinhua.

After having stopped new lending to Myanmar for more than two decades, the World Bank last month approved a $440 million credit to support critical reforms being implemented by the government of Myanmar to strengthen macroeconomic stability, enhance public financial management and improve investment climate.

The World Bank opened an office in Yangon in August 2012 to provide technical support and advisory work for the nation’s economic development. Myanmar’s gross domestic product is forecast by the Bank to grow 6.3 percent in the current fiscal year starting April 2012.



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