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World Bank lent $4,200 million to region

Washington, July 19 (RFE/RL) -- The World Bank says it committed a total of 4,200 million dollars to the 29 countries of Europe and Central Asia in fiscal year 1996, which ended June 30th.

The bank says the commitment for 61 projects was a bit less than the 4,500 million dollars it agreed to provide in the 1995 fiscal year, and represented about 20 percent of the bank's total lending commitments in 1996.

Russia was the region's largest borrower with 1,800 million dollars in loans for nine projects. It was the bank's third largest borrower after China and India.

Romania was the region's second largest borrower with commitments of 510 million dollars for three projects for railway rehabilitation, power sector modernization and financial and enterprise sector adjustment.

The bank says Tajikistan received its first credit ever, a five million dollar loan from the bank's International Development Association (IDA) in 1996. The bank also opened its first resident missions in Azerbaijan, Bosnia, and Macedonia in the fiscal year.

The bank includes all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in the region in addition to Turkey, Cyprus and Portugal. Cyprus and Portugal are not active borrowers.