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World Bank to set up first non-U.S. combined office in Singapore

(Xinhua)

08:53, September 07, 2011

SINGAPORE, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank and Singapore signed an agreement on Tuesday to set up a combined World Bank Group office here, which will be the first outside Washington.

The World Bank-Singapore Hub will offer products and services from across the World Bank Group to help unlock private sector interest in infrastructure investments, especially in developing East Asian economies.

The hub will grow to have 70 employees over the next three years, including the bank's chief economist for East Asia Bert Hofman, World Bank President Rober Zoellick said upon the signing of the agreement by him and Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam here in Singapore.

Zoellick said it is a reflection of his vision of "democratized development" where development would no longer be about one way learning from North to South or West to East.

"Instead, a democratized development process would learn from all with experience to share; knowledge and experience would flow East to West, South to South, and South to North; the practice of development would be continually refined by drawing on what works and discarding what doesn't," he said.

The Singapore hub will also offer clients investment and advisory services from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group that finances and provides advice for private sector ventures and projects in developing countries.

The IFC will explore the idea of cooperating with Singapore- based commercial banks and firms to make emerging markets' debt and equity investments available to global investors.

The hub will also help provide clients with the services of the World Bank Group's private sector guarantee arm, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, whose operations include a facility to support both inbound and outbound Asian investments by issuing risk guarantees to equity sponsors, banks, funds, and other financial institutions.

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