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World Bank Sends Billions to Aid Egypt, Tunisia


Tunisian President Foued Mebazaa (R) shakes hands with the World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick at the Presidential Palace in Carthage, outside Tunis, May 4, 2011

Tunisian President Foued Mebazaa (R) shakes hands with the World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick at the Presidential Palace in Carthage, outside Tunis, May 4, 2011

The World Bank says it will give up to $6 billion in aid to Egypt and Tunisia over the next two years to help modernize their economies.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the aid should be linked to reforms in Egypt and Tunisia, where autocratic rulers were toppled by popular uprisings.

Egypt is the larger of the two nations, and $4.5 billion is to go there. Another $1 billion is headed for Tunisia, in addition to $500,000 already announced as part of a related aid package from the African Development Bank and European donors. U.S. President Barack Obama has also proposed a multibillion-dollar package of debt relief and loan guarantees. The World Bank is coordinating aid efforts with the International Monetary Fund.

World Bank officials say economic frustrations played a role in the revolts, and it is important to improve opportunity, create jobs, cut corruption and make other reforms.

Leaders from Egypt and Tunisia are scheduled to discuss political and financial reforms at the G8 meeting of the world's wealthiest nations in France this week.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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