World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick launched two multi-billion-U.S.-dollar investment initiatives here on Saturday to help developing countries weather the ongoing global economic crisis by promoting growth through infrastructure construction.
The World Bank's Infrastructure Recovery and Assets (INFRA) platform and the Infrastructure Crisis Facility (ICF), set up by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group's member focused on private sector investments, will mobilize more than 55 billion U.S. dollars over the next three years to the construction of infrastructure projects in developing countries.
Out of the total, 45 billion dollars are available in lending from the World Bank and the remaining 10 billion dollars available through IFC. The two initiatives will help developing countries create jobs and lay the foundations for future economic growth and poverty reduction.
As founding partners in the ICF, the German and French governments were the first to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank Group on their respective contribution of about 660 million dollars and 1.3 billion dollars.
"As developing countries are facing the trials of the global economic crisis it is vitally important that economic stimulus packages in the developed world are accompanied by support to those that cannot afford multi-billion bailouts," Zoellick said while launching the initiatives.
"A decline in infrastructure leaves weaker foundations for long-term economic growth that hits the poorest the hardest. We have a chance to avoid the errors of the past and scale up financing and help countries identify critical investments," he added.
According to the World Bank Group, the INFRA platform and ICF will have a particular focus on green investments and will support those developing countries which want to use infrastructure investments to advance their "green agenda" while maintaining the momentum on their environmental achievements.