New World Bank catastrophe loan

WORLD Bank on Tuesday launched a new catastrophe loan facility and revised an existing contingency credit line designed to help increase its business with middle-income countries. The World Bank board on Tuesday approved the Catastrophe Risk Deferred Drawdown Option that will give middle-income countries access to emergency funds in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake. Countries stricken by disaster will be able to access funding of up to $500 million once a state of emergency is declared. Countries may qualify for the loan facility if they have a hazard risk management programme already in place that is monitored by the World Bank. World Bank president Robert Zoellick said the facility was an example of how the institution could be useful to middle-income countries, a diverse group that includes fast-growing economic powerhouses like China. In September, Mr Zoellick cut the price the World bank charged on its loans and simplified a complex set of fees and waivers for emerging economies, which were increasingly tapping global capital markets for funding. "These financial product enhancements reflect the World Bank Group's commitment to using creative ways to expand resources for our country partners,' Mr Zoellick said. "As our client relationships with middle-income countries become more sophisticated, the World Bank is responding with development solutions that share knowledge, build markets and institutions, and provide capital,' he added. The World Bank board separately also approved changes to its existing Deferred Drawdown Option (DDO), a pre-approved line of credit for countries which do not immediately need the funding but have access to it in the future in case of an unforeseen event. Only two countries

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