G8 and IMF pledge US$38mn to help Arab states


Finance ministers from the G8 group of industrialised countries have pledged US$38mn to several Arab countries to help with reconstruction and moves towards democracy.

The money will be allocated to Egypt and Tunisia, which overthrew their autocratic leaders at the start of the year, as well as Morocco and Jordan, both monarchies, who have seen some protests but have weathered the upheavals in the Arab world by offering constitutional reforms.

"With strained public finances, the immediate challenge for these countries is to fulfill people's expectations while preserving macroeconomic stability," said a communique released by the G8 under the banner of the Deauville Partnership.

Nine international and regional financial institutions are also participating in the partnership.

In addition to the pledge of US$38 billion from G8 countries, the IMF is extending further funds.

"The IMF can actually extend an approximate total of US$35 billion for the region and particularly focus on those that are oil-importing countries because, as we know, they are the ones that are suffering the most from the high commodity prices, whether it's fuel or prices of food," said IMF head Christine Lagarde.

The total of US$73 billion in pledges nearly doubles the amount originally pledged by the G8 and lenders including the World Bank at an earlier summit in May.

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