Middle East states called to back IDA

27 October 1995

GCC states, as well as Israel, were among those called on to support the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessionary lending arm, during the mid-October IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington. The request for donations from countries which do not already subscribe to the IDA reflects the growing concerns about future funding in the face of US moves to reduce its contribution.

Proposals by congress will cut US support in 1996 by a third to $775 million, although President Clinton is still pressing for a bigger contribution to the IDA-II replenishment programme. If the cutbacks are approved, other donors may be prompted to follow suit.

This in turn will lead to cutbacks in the low-income countries where the IDA is now active, which include Sudan and Yemen.

Clinton's call for a change of heart by the congress was echoed by US non-governmental organisations, which along with many governments stand to lose from cuts to aid spending in the US budget. While the biggest recipients, Israel and Egypt, have been spared the swingeing cuts, others, including Morocco and Tunisia, will no longer be included in programmes of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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