Washington, DC (BBN)- The World Bank (WB) has committed US$12.5 billion in support to its members and to private business in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region to mitigate the impact of global meltdown.

The WB group commitments in ECA grew in fiscal year 2009 by 58 percent, as financing was rapidly approved to help cushion the impact of the global economic crisis on the poor and to position countries for post-crisis recovery, a WB press statement said on Friday.

Many countries in Europe and Central Asia entered the crisis in a vulnerable position, the WB said, adding that relatively high current account deficits, elevated external debt levels, very rapid credit growth, and a consumption boom financed by foreign currency borrowing created vulnerabilities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the Baltics, and some Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), leaving several of them particularly exposed to the crisis.

On the other hand, sharp drops in commodity prices brought growth in economic powerhouses of the eastern part of the Region (Russia and Kazakhstan) to an abrupt halt and hit the less well-off parts of the CIS very hard, according to statement.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-26July09-1:55 am (BST)