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South Sudan joins IMF, World Bank

South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday, the sister institutions said.

South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan last July after two decades of war, became the 188th member of the Washington-based institutions, as it struggles with renewed clashes with Sudan.

Finance Minister Kosti Manibe Ngai signed the agreement papers with the IMF and the World Bank, capping South Sudan’s bid for membership which begun in April 2011.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde welcomed South Sudan to the fund, saying “the IMF will do its best to assist the country in setting up the foundations for economic stability and growth in the period ahead.”

The IMF is participating in a dedicated $11 million trust fund in support of South Sudan over the next four years.

“The European Union plans to come on board as a lead donor,” the fund said in a statement.

The World Bank also hailed South Sudan’s membership, calling the impoverished country a “test case” on the development lender’s principles for state building by citizens with the support of international development partners.

“I am very pleased to welcome South Sudan, the world’s newest country as our newest member of the World Bank Group, to help it manage and resolve its many formidable development challenges while it also builds a broad national coalition to secure lasting peace and prosperity,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili, the bank’s vice president for Africa.

She also pledged the bank would support the fight against corruption, promote accountability and good governance, and work closely with South Sudan and its communities “for better social and economic development.”

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