World Bank Withholds $200 Million Myanmar Loan

By Zarni Mann 16 October 2017

MANDALAY — The World Bank has delayed a US$200 million loan to Myanmar amid intensifying international pressure over the exodus of more than 500,000 self-identifying Rohingya from Rakhine State.

In a statement issued on Oct. 12, the World Bank said it was “deeply concerned by the violence, destruction and forced displacement of the Rohingya” and would withhold the loan until conditions improved.

Militant attacks on 30 police stations and an army base in northern Rakhine on Aug. 25 triggered an army crackdown that has caused the exodus. Meanwhile, about 30,000 Arakanese and Hindus were internally displaced by militant violence.

The World Bank stated it would continue “high-impact projects that support education, health services, electricity, rural roads and inclusion of all ethnic groups and religions, particularly in Rakhine state.”

“We also assessed the conditions of our recently approved development policy loan and concluded that further progress is needed for the loan to be made effective,” the statement added.

The loan is one of the 13 projects funded by the World Bank in Myanmar and was signed between the bank and the Myanmar government in August as direct financial support to the government’s union budget to help address the macroeconomic stability and fiscal resilience.

The loan comes from the World Bank’s fund for low-income countries, International Development Association (IDA). The loan includes a repayment period of 38 years, with a grace period of six years and a zero interest rate, according to the bank.