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September 25, 2013

World Bank Approves $140 Million Loan for Burmese Power Plant

by VOA News

The World Bank has approved a loan to help fund a more efficient power plant in Burma, where more than 70 percent of the population has no electricity.

The global development lender on Tuesday authorized the $140 million, interest-free loan to help upgrade the decades-old plant in eastern Mon state.

By replacing aging gas turbines, the bank hopes the plant can increase its output by 250 percent, which would cover half of the rural state's peak demand.

The World Bank says the project is the "first step to bringing more and cleaner electricity" to Burma, which it says is essential to helping reduce poverty.

The under-developed country is recovering from five decades of economic and political isolation under its former authoritarian military leaders.

A new, nominally civilian government took power in 2011 and began implementing a series of political and economic reforms.

Since then, the World Bank and others have re-engaged with and begun relaxing economic sanctions against the Southeast Asian country.