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World Bank arm for poorest enters capital markets

World Bank

WASHINGTON: The arm of the World Bank serving the poorest countries has received its first-ever public credit ratings, allowing it to borrow on international capital markets, the global lender announced Thursday.

The International Development Association, which offers grants and concessional loans to the world’s 77 poorest countries, received the top triple-A rating with a stable outlook from the agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poors.

The IDA is currently negotiating a new round of cash contributions from sovereign governments covering 2017 to 2020 and access to capital markets could boost these resources by half, according to Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President for Development Finance.

“We’re still negotiating but the ambition is certainly to significantly increase our resources,” van Trotsenburg told AFP. “A fifty percent increase could be a possibility.”

The previous package agreed in 2013 totalled $52 billion, he said.

In a statement, Moody’s said it had based its rating on IDA’s high capital adequacy and liquidity as well as strong support from member countries.

“Although IDA lends to some of the poorest nations worldwide, its asset performance has been high,” Moody’s said.

“Non-performing loans have averaged 2.4 percent over the last seven years, and fell below 2 percent” in the 2016 fiscal year.

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