World Bank eyes India as Africa rail partner

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The World Bank and New Delhi are in talks about financing the international expansion of Indian Railways, one of the largest and most profitable networks in the world, to bring transport infrastructure to African countries and other developing nations.

Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, said the Washington-based multilateral lender wanted to build on a $2bn commitment to strengthen India’s rail system by helping state-owned Indian Railways to grow beyond its borders.

“We can help the Indian Railways in India, but also, as they develop greater efficiencies, to move abroad,” Mr Zoellick said during a four-day visit to India.

An ambitious partnership with Indian Railways is at the heart of a World Bank strategy to persuade India and China, two of the fastest-growing large economies, to participate more directly in the development of the world’s poorest nations. India, Asia’s third largest economy, is the largest borrower from the World Bank with about $22bn (€14.8bn, £13.3bn) invested in projects.

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