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LOAN-SUPPORT CUTS MIGHT HURT THE U.S.

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Cuts in U.S. support for loans to the world's poorest countries could lead other donors to limit the number of World Bank contracts to Americans, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said Tuesday.

He said if the United States sharply reduces funds committed for lending, as Congress intends to do, other countries would not likely make up the shortfall. If they did, he said, there could be conditions, "which would be to seek to exclude the United States from the benefits of those funds."The World Bank says the United States gets backs 7 percent more than it contributes to the bank, with added business and jobs.

The Clinton administration has asked for $1.4 billion to fulfill current U.S. commitments to the bank's International Development Association fund. The House has proposed to cut that to $575 million, and the Senate would make it $775 million.

The joint International Development Committee, which oversees the bank and the International Monetary Fund, reported Monday that poverty-fighting efforts are seriously threatened by possible reductions in loan funds from the United States and other countries.

Such loans go largely to countries where the average citizen earns $600 a year or less.