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Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK
Growth ahead for poorer nations
China
The World Bank forecasts growth in China
The World Bank expects the economies of developing countries to grow faster in the next two years, turning around their fortunes after the 1997-98 global financial crisis.


They are offering debt relief at the same time that aid is being reduced so there is no net gain

UN report co-ordinator
According to a World Bank report, growth will be fastest in countries with more diversified and open economies.

It singles out China and India where economic reforms are underway, and countries in eastern Europe which are moving to a market economy.

In a separate report, the United Nations Development Programme criticised rich countries for reducing aid to the poor as world poverty increased.

It said one in six of the world's population - 1.3 billion people - lived in chronic poverty.

Children
Richer countries are giving less in aid
The World Bank said that average growth rates this year were forecast to be 4.6%, rising to 4.8% next year.

However, it warned that 41 low-income countries would struggle to record any growth in 2000.

It said this underscored the still fragile path of reform and recovery that lay ahead.

End corruption

Although the UN report welcomed recent moves to reduce or wipe out the debts of developing nations, it said more needed to be done.

"They are offering debt relief at the same time that aid is being reduced so there is no net gain," Terry McKinley, co-ordinator of the report, said.

The UN called on richer nations to open their markets to exports from the developing world.

"Developing countries are being asked to engage in trade liberalisation - to open up their agricultural sectors to imports, for example.

"But at the same time, the industrial countries are not willing to do the same, in terms of their own subsidies to farmers and so forth," Mr McKinley said.

The report also said poorer countries must reduce corruption to ensure that aid reached those in need.

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See also:

29 Sep 98 | Business Basics
The IMF and World Bank
14 Mar 00 | Business
World Bank: Listen to poor
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