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World Bank offers Ghana $1.2b loan

ACCRA, Mar 12 – The World Bank has offered Ghana a 1.2 billion dollar interest-free loan to help cushion the country against the global economic downturn, a bank official said on Wednesday.

"It is important that we support Africa in these difficult times so that economic gains made in the past are not eroded," the bank\’s vice president for Africa Obiageli Ezekwesili told reporters.

Bank country director for Ghana Ishac Diwan told AFP a first tranche of 250 million dollars would be released immediately.

Ghana\’s President John Atta-Mills last month painted a bleak picture of the country\’s economy, hit by volatility in commodity prices as well as reductions in foreign aid and remittance flows from its citizens in the diaspora.

The cocoa- and gold-rich west African country, which is to start pumping oil in 2010, has revised downwards its projected economic growth to 5.9 percent against last year\’s 6.2 percent.

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