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    YEREVAN, October 30 (RIA Novosti's Gamlet Matevosyan) - Cooperation between Armenia and the World Bank is developing rather effectively, President Robert Kocharyan of Armenia said at a conference involving Ms. Donna M. Dawsett-Coirolo, World Bank regional director for South Caucasus, Mr. Hussein Razawi, World Bank director for the infrastructure and energy sector, and Mr. Roger Robinson, director of the World Bank's Yerevan office.

    Mr. Kocharyan pointed out the World Bank's important role in facilitating the implementation of Armenian reforms, presidential press-service officials noted.

    Robert Kocharyan voiced hope to the effect that this influential international financial organization will continue to render all-out assistance to Armenia in the future, as well.

    Those taking part in the conference noted the importance of streamlining Armenia's tax and customs regulation legislation.

    Fuel and energy cooperation prospects were discussed, as well.

    The World Bank has implemented 36 programs worth nearly $821 million on Armenian territory.

    Armenia receives 40-year World Bank loans in accordance with IDA (International Development Association) terms; such loans, which are allocated to the world's poorest countries, stipulate 0.75% annual interest, as well as an easy-term ten-year period.

    In June 2004 the World Bank's board of executive directors endorsed a new Armenian-aid strategy for the 2005-2008 period. This strategy calls for setting aside loans to the tune of $220 million.

    The new strategy lists the following priorities:

    - helping the Armenian Government in its efforts to improve the business climate and to create more jobs;

    -facilitating better and more effective management;

    - streamlining the public-health system, the education system, as well as the basic infrastructure.

    The previous Armenian-aid strategy for the 2002-2004 period had stipulated loans worth about $190 million. Among other things, the World Bank had financed construction of 120 km of local roads within the framework of that strategy. The civil service reform was launched in line with the new law based on an institutional administration survey. More than 130 community projects were implemented, thus improving the life of 340,000 rural dwellers. 80 rural hospitals were constructed and 118 physicians retrained as family doctors. Over 200 km of irrigation canals were reconstructed, thereby enhancing the productivity of nearly 80,000 hectares of farmlands. 112 new textbooks were published and handed out to students all over Armenia; add to this 50 teaching aids.

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