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World Bank Approves First Burma Aid In Two Decades

The World Bank has approved an $80 million grant for community development in Burma.

It's the first World Bank assistance to the Southeast Asian country in more than 20 years.

The World Bank said the grant was to be used by rural communities for roads, bridges, irrigation systems, schools, health clinics, or rural markets.

Pamela Cox, the World Bank vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, said Burmese authorities had been moving speedily to open up the country after years of authoritarian rule, but still needed to build institutions to improve transparency and economic governance.

She said the bank had a further $165 million in loan assistance ready for Burma after the government cleared its $900 million of debt to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP