World Bank: Pledges to help Syrian refugees top 1.6 billion dollars

Eight countries and the European Commission are pledging more than 1.6 billion dollars toward financing for a World Bank-led initiative to support Syrian refugees and region-wide recovery.

The package includes 141 million dollars in grants, 1 billion dollars in loans and 500 million dollars in guarantees for the initiative, which is aimed at both refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict and host communities in neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon.

The effort - the New Financing Initiative to Support the Middle East and North Africa Region - could generate up to 800 million dollars in concessional loans in the next year, the World Bank said in Washington.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the international community can begin to "restore human dignity, ensure access to education and lay the foundations for sustainable peace and stability" through the initiative.

"The Syrian conflict continues to cause massive death, destruction and displacement," he said. "As we search for a political path towards peace, we also need a well-coordinated humanitarian and development response."

Japan, France, Britain, the United States, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and the European Commission each made pledges of initial financial contributions, in a conference Friday during the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Ministers attended from the Group of Seven major advanced economies, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said this week that basic reconstruction inside Syria - whenever the now five-year conflict ends - is estimated at 150 billion dollars or more.

"These grants mean we can now begin expanding programmes to help Jordan and Lebanon cope with the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis," he said, "while guarantees will allow multilateral development banks to increase their financing in support of countries across the region confronting the multiple consequences of instability."

Kim said he hoped to reach a goal of 1 billion dollars in grants over the next five years, which the World Bank, a Washington-based development lender, can leverage into more than 3 billion dollars in financing.

Last update: Sat, 16/04/2016 - 11:04

More from World

Sources: Syria regime and opposition pick teams for Astana talks

The Syrian government and opposition have picked their delegations for Russian- and Turkish-sponsored peace talks ...

Low polls, protests plague Trump ahead of divisive inauguration

When Donald Trump places his hand on a Bible once used by Abraham Lincoln to take the presidential oath of office on...

American business group warns against US trade conflict with China

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said Wednesday that Beijing will likely respond if US president-elect...

Obama commutes sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning

US President Barack Obama is commuting the sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning for leaking defence documents...

Woman sues Trump for defamation over alleged sexual advances

A former contestant on the reality television show "The Apprentice" on Tuesday filed a defamation lawsuit against US...