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August 15, 2003

Vietnam Gets $134 Million From World Bank

HANOI, Vietnam (Associated Press) - The World Bank said Friday it is lending Vietnam $100 million over the next three years to support reforms to reduce poverty, develop a market economy and devise a modern legal system.

Three other donors, the U.K., the Netherlands and Sweden, have also agreed to provide Vietnam with $33.7 million in grants during the same period.

The World Bank's pledge makes up the second Poverty Reduction Support Credit, granted to Vietnam to reflect the international community's strong support for the country's commitment to growth and poverty reduction, the agency said in a statement.

A World Bank executive said the new funds will be disbursed between 2003 and 2006, depending on the progress of reforms.

The funds will be used in three broad areas: speeding up Vietnam's transition from a centrally managed economy to a market economy, improving education and health facilities for the poor, and developing a system of modern governance and legal reforms.

In a separate statement, the World Bank said it has approved a $5.5 million grant to finance a 12-year project to promote the efficient use of electricity in Vietnam.

Under Vietnam's first Poverty Reduction Support Credit program, Vietnam received $250 million in loans from the World Bank in 2001 and 2002, and $55 million in grants from other donors.

Vietnam has agreed to a series of reforms covering its state enterprise and banking sectors, as well as trade liberalization and the encouragement of private business, which the World Bank's money is designed to support.

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