The World Bank (WB) in its 50-year history has supported more than 6,600 development projects worth US $337 in about 140 countries. These projects have supported sectoral growth in various economies. The WB has been instrumental in improving poverty reduction in East Asia, increased food production in South Asia and in combating disease and basic education in Africa. It also helped Latin America overcome the debt crisis in the 1980s. Bank lending for education, population control, health and nutrition has grown from US $2.9 billion in the 1970s to more than US $34 billion today. Bank loans in 1996 totalled US $21,520 million.
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