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World Bank delegation review development project feasibility in Iran

A four-member world Bank (WB) delegation visited Sunday several areas in the southern Khuzestan province of Iran, IRNA reported from Ahvaz.

The delegation is headed by the WB Deputy Director for Middle East, and North Africa Basem Ramezan.

The Iranian co-chairman of the delegation Asghar Mohajeri, in a meeting with provincial officials, said the aim of the visit is to assess the feasibility of setting up small development projects, including health and vocational projects throughout the country.

He said WB aims to reduce poverty of the lower income population locally and striving to create a self-sustaining development through establishing a local fund initially in four provinces of Tehran, Khuzestan, Hamedan and Khorasan.

If the 5-year pilot projects met its objectives, "then these projects will be extended in other parts of the country."

He also referred to people participation in the projects as a pivotal factor in the projects.

The WB has granted Iran a dlrs 150 million long-term loan for this purpose with low interest rate and repayment period of 21 years.

He said Iran's share of the project is dlrs 50 million, stressing the projects will be implemented in the deprived-regions with participation of the people, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), local councils and other similar institutions.

Mohajeri, who is also the Deputy Coordinator for Interior Ministry Islamic Council Affairs, said the most important characteristics of the projects are poverty alleviation, employment and equality creation and income generation.

"These features will assist the provinces to achieve self-sustaining development," Mohajeri underlined.

Ramezan conveyed WB readiness to strengthen the Iranian non-governmental organizations and upgrade vulnerable public classes.

He stressed that the making the WB officials acquainted with the type of activity of such organizations is the prerequisite to materialize the WB cooperation to the effect.

"Full introduction to the financial trend and supply of the budget of NGO funds is of high significance," he added.

Meanwhile, World Bank Representative in the Middle East Joseph Saba said in May that the World Bank has no limitation in helping economic and development projects.

"No financial limitation is imposed by the World Bank in contributing to development and construction projects such as road-building, water, training and education as well as metallurgy," he noted.

Saba said that the World Bank is an economic development association aiming to help implement local projects.

Pointing to the expertise of the World Bank gained in the Middle East region including Iran and Lebanon as well as Mexico, he said that the bank has been actively involved in these countries for the past 10 years.

... Payvand News - 7/21/03 ... --

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