27 Jan 2014

World Bank resumes lending to Myanmar

11:45 am on 27 January 2014

The World Bank has pledged $US2 billion in development aid to Myanmar Burma for projects including energy supply and healthcare.

Bank president Jim Yong Kim announced the aid during his first visit there. It includes $US200 million to help the country achieve universal health coverage by 2030.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been closed to much of the outside world for many years and is struggling to rebuild its economy.

The bank ceased lending to Myanmar almost three decades ago when the ruling military junta defaulted on repayments.

The BBC reports Myanmar last year cleared its arrears to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank with the help of a bridge loan from Japan, enabling the two lenders to resume assistance.

Since taking control of a civilian government in 2011, President Thein Sein has started political and economic reforms. However, critics have said that the pace of change is too fast.