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29 May, 2008 02:47

Russia finds new role as donor country

This week, the Russian government unveiled plans to develop its first comprehensive international aid programme to regulate the funds it lends to poorer countries. The move is supported by the World Bank and marks a turning point in Russia's relationship

The World Bank is a partner of Russia as the country joins its G8 colleagues in building up a policy and accounting system for the aid it provides to developing countries.

Dmitry Pankin, Deputy Finance Minister, says the country has a new role in the world.

“In the new Russia we need to understand what is the role of Russia in the world and what our strategy is, and in that context to find a way to assist in international development programmes,” he said.

Russia and the World Bank had rather different things to discuss less than a decade ago.

The Bank was pumping billions of dollars into the Russian economy, as it lurched from one crisis to another, providing more than $US 6.5 billion between 1992 and 1999.

Russia's commitment to international aid marks the start of a new phase in its association with the global lender, says Klaus Rohland, the head of the World Bank Russia.
“In a way, this turns the page in our relationship, because here you have Russia that is no longer dependent on World Bank loans. It wants to avail itself, as any member of the World Bank can, to develop Russia further, but it is a Russia that takes on international responsibility,” he said.