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The East: World Bank Announces Largest Borrowers

Washington, 16 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The World Bank says that in its financial year which ended June 30th, Russia was the second largest borrower, exceeded only by China.

Russia was approved for loans totaling $1.7 billion in the 1997 fiscal year. Ukraine was the sixth largest borrower from the bank -- approved for $989.6 million in loans -- while Romania was the 9th biggest borrower at $625 million.

The bank says it approved loans for the entire Europe and Central Asia region of $5.1 billion, a full $1 billion more than was approved in 1996. It says the social sector was the largest single field getting loans in the region, accounting for $935 million of the lending.

Globally, the World Bank says it made new lending commitments totaling $19.1 billion in the financial year, down just over $2 billion from 1996. The bank's Managing Director for Operations, Gautam Kaji, said a re-evaluation of bank programs and lending during the year caused the drop in approved loans.