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Bank offers help for Y2K

Declaring the year 2000 computer problem a "technological emergency" in Latin America and the Caribbean, the IDB opened a $200 million emergency line of credit to assist the region's countries in repairing computer systems and preparing for anticipated problems.
The Bank warned in a May statement that many countries in the region were behind in reprogramming existing data systems or purchasing new systems capable of handling the date change on Jan. 1, 2000 (See "Will they fix the millennium bug?" IDBamérica, Nov. Dec. 1998).

The emergency line of credit will allow for rapid disbursement of funds to countries that are preparing contingency plans to manage system failures that might occur on that date. The credits could also be used to finance training of computer personnel in preparing and implementing upgrades in computerized systems, crisis management and recovery, testing, and procurement of new programs, equipment and consulting services through December 31, 2000.

The so-called Y2K problem could affect nearly all areas of daily life, including surface, air and maritime transportation; electric power production and distribution; potable water and solid waste treatment; hospitals; manufacturing; finance and insurance; public sector operations such as tax collections and police; and social services.

Last year, the IDB organized and participated in several awareness seminars and meetings, at both regional and national levels, to alert authorities to the impending emergency. In addition, the Bank has collaborated with a number of countries in the region to evaluate the capacity of their executing agencies to deal with the Y2K problem and to survey financial needs related to it.

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