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A World Bank report published on Sunday 23 April suggests a shift in policy towards more funding to help developing countries generate power more cleanly and efficiently.

To this end, the report asks the bank's development committee to approve new types of loans and grants, and proposes a venture capital fund to help develop 'clean energy' technologies and bring them to market.

According to the International Energy Agency, a total of US$8.1 trillion, or US$300 billion per year from 2003 to 2030 is needed if developing and transitional economies are to meet their energy needs.

Among the suggestions for meeting these costs, the report suggests providing a grant that would help such countries buy new and efficient energy technologies and infrastructures.

The proposals would help developing nations reduce their emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The report also discusses the need to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change by transferring technology — such as ways of adapting crops to new climates — to these nations.

Dutch development minister Agnes van Ardennes told Reuters news agency that she is concerned that the proposals do not focus on very poor countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, 500 million people have no access to power.

Last week, UK finance minister Gordon Brown urged rich countries to build a seed fund of US$20 million to help middle-income countries invest in 'green' energy sources.

The World Bank report, Clean Energy and Development: Towards an investment framework, was drafted in response to a request made by the eight most industrialised nations at last year's G8 summit.