China gains clout in World Bank vote shift

08:30, April 26, 2010      

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With China's rising global economic clout, it has gained more voting power at the World Bank on issues concerning world development.

China overtook large European nations in a shift in voting power at the World Bank on Sunday, the Reuters reported.

The agreement increases the voting shares of some emerging and developing countries by 3.13 percent to a total 47 percent stake. It puts China's share behind that of the United States and Japan, but above Germany, Britain and France.

"China's share has increased because of its growth in the world economy," World Bank President Robert Zoellick told a news conference at the end of weekend meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington.

The U.S. maintained its majority stake of 16 percent, and Japan said it had accepted a reduction in its voting share to 6.84 percent. China's share will rise to 4.42 percent from 2.77 percent -- reflecting its status as the world's third-largest economy.

The changes in voting shares will also contribute US$1.6 billion in new resources to the global poverty-fighting institution, The Reuters report said.

In addition, World Bank's 186 member countries agreed to a general capital increase of US$3.5 billion for the Bank -- the first in more than 20 years -- to make up for the heavy lending by the Bank during the financial crisis.

"It is just reflecting reality, and I believe multinational institutions should reflect realities because otherwise they become outdated," EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told Reuters.

But tensions bubbled to the surface after months of tough negotiations, in which some countries were reluctant to give up voting shares and others fought to hang on to theirs.

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