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Ukraine: World Bank May Award Loans Worth $1 Billion

Washington, 30 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Negotiations with Ukraine have been concluded on a series of projects that could bring loans exceeding $1 billion over the next two years, says an official of the World Bank.

Basil Kowalski, director of the bank's department that deals with the western former Soviet states, says bank and Ukrainian officials this week finished the basic arrangements on loans involving electricity generation, the coal industry, agriculture and transportation. Coupled with other projects still being worked out, such as support for the Ukrainian Export-Import Bank, Kowalski says the total could exceed $1.3 billion.

He told a small group of journalists in Washington for this week's annual meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the first two projects will be presented to the bank's Board of Executive Directors for final approval before the end of October.

Kowalski says Ukraine is making good progress in the transformation process. He noted that there is "growing private sector" interest in investing in Ukraine, something that is vital to the country's economic future.

He added that in Tokyo last week, he was "struck" by the level of interest in Ukraine shown by Japanese investors. Japan has lagged well behind the other G-7 industrial nations in investing in the region, according to World Bank figures.