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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
New World Bank cash for Pakistan
A quake survivor clears rubble from his devastated house
Rebuilding after the 2005 earthquake will get priority
Pakistan is to receive up to $6.5bn (3.5bn) from the World Bank under a new four-year assistance programme.

At least $1bn will go on reconstruction after last October's earthquake which killed more than 73,000 people and left 3.3 million others homeless.

The aid is more than double the $2.73bn Pakistan received from the bank between 2002 and 2005.

Transport and energy, key areas in sustaining growth and tackling poverty, will see considerable spending.

Sustained growth

World Bank country director John Wall said the money was to help Pakistan prosper.

"The country has moved from crisis to growth, laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth and significant poverty reduction," he said.

He added the bank would "substantially ramp up support to Pakistan and focus on the areas that are most critical for the country's poor and most vulnerable".

Pakistan's economy grew by 3.3% on average between 1997 and 2002 and in 2004-2005 it expanded 8.4%.

But its growth, while encouraging, was not assured, said Praful Patel, World Bank's vice president for the South Asia region.

"Sustained growth will require continued sound macroeconomic management along with further improvements in the investment climate and faster progress in improving the quality of life for all Pakistani citizens, especially women," Mr Patel added.

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