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ADB to Provide US$500 Mln to Combat Food Crisis

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced an immediate fiscal aid of US$500 million Tuesday for countries affected by food price hikes in the Asia-Pacific region.

The announcement was made by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda at the end of the institution's annual assembly in Madrid.

"The situation demands quick government answers with programs granting direct aid to the poorest and most vulnerable inhabitants, as well as political measures to back the business and distribution of basic food staples in the region," Kuroda said.

"This will help those governments to alleviate the fiscal taxes so that they can obtain food to feed the poor and needy. These resources can also be used to import foods and agricultural products, like fertilizers," Kuroda added.

Kuroda did not reveal which countries have requested aid, although he said decisions on which nations get what will be made in several weeks.

The president promised that the bank will double its loans to agriculture to US$2 billion in 2009.

Created in 1966, the ADB is a multilateral financial institution whose main goal is to promote economic growth in the less developed countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

The institution currently has 67 members, of which 48 are from the Asian-Pacific region, and 19 are from other parts of the world.

(Xinhua News Agency May 7, 2008)

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