World Bank aid group receives record pledges totaling $41.6 bln

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BERLIN: The World Bank body that aids the poorest countries said Friday that its donors have pledged a record $41.6 billion for its 2008-2011 budget.

The International Development Association (IDA) said at the end of a two-day donors conference in Berlin that the pledges marked a 9.5 percent increase on contributions in the previous three-year period.

The 185-nation World Bank said its growing field of IDA donors now included China as well as Cyprus, Egypt, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Created in 1960, the IDA grants aid and interest-free loans to the world s 80 poorest countries, home to 2.5 billion people, half of the total population of the developing world.

About 1.5 billion people in the currently eligible countries subsist on incomes of two dollars a day or less.

Thirty-nine of the countries are in Africa and about half the money goes to the impoverished continent.

The donors meeting in Berlin covered contributions for the three years between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011.

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