World Bank approves $5.3 bn program for Argentina

Sep 10, 2014 12:00 AM

The World Bank has announced a new aid strategy for Argentina worth up to 5.3 billion over the next three years aimed at increasing the incomes of the country's poorer families.

The fiscal 2015-2018 package will fund a number of different programs "selected for their contribution to achieving sustained poverty reduction and shared prosperity," in the troubled country, the World Bank said.

Targets include increasing the value of agricultural production on some 80,000 small and medium-sized farms, and expanding national healthcare coverage from 28 percent to 50 percent.

The money will come from the World Bank Group's main development finance unit, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corp.

The IBRD will provide up to 1.2 billion a year, on a project by project basis, while the IFC will invest in total 1.7 billion over the period.

World Bank Group executive directors "broadly endorsed" the strategy Tuesday but each project and its allocation will need specific approval.

The announcement came as the Argentine economy struggles with high inflation and accelerated capital flight, partly due to the government's July default on its debt and the threat that that will lead to much more severe economic problems.

"The World Bank will be supporting Argentina in reaching the most vulnerable in society, especially in the lowest income areas of the country," said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank country director for Argentina.

Axel Kicillof, Argentina's minister of finance, welcomed aid focused on job creation and infrastructure development.

"In the past 10 years, Argentina has gone through an historical process of development based on employment and production," he said in a statement.

"We are aware that industrial revitalization is the only way for Argentina to achieve sustained and socially inclusive growth."


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