The World Bank will limit its work in Greece to offering expertise, and will not provide loans, the bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, said on Tuesday.
“We will not lend money to Greece” because «this is not a country that qualifies, for example, for an IBRD loan,” Kim told a press conference in Stockholm.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is an arm of the World Bank which extends loans to governments, but Greece is classed as a «high income” country, rather than the «middle income” states to which it typically lends.
Hungary, another high income country, was made an exception to the US-based bank’s rule in 2008 when it received a loan that was part of an aid plan coordinated by the European Union and the IMF.
The World Bank said in November that Greece had requested its expertise on the issues of how to improve its business climate, and how to boost growth.
On Tuesday, Kim suggested that Greece could benefit from the bank’s experience in another area: «We have a lot of experience in assessing whether particular social sector expenditures are actually achieving the desired outcome,” he said.
“For example we worked in Korea during the crisis in the 1990s, we worked in Indonesia. We worked in many countries that have had very similar experiences with the ones that countries in Southern Europe are going through,” he added.
“We’re hoping to be helpful whenever we can. But again, we’re an organisation that works on request. People have to come to us.”