Exclusive-World Bank chief Banga open to managing G7 loan to Ukraine

World Bank Group President Banga attends a Reuters interview, in Nairobi

By David Lawder

STRESA, Italy (Reuters) - World Bank President Ajay Banga told Reuters on Friday that he is "absolutely" open to the idea of managing a fund for Ukraine that would disburse a G7 loan to the war-torn country based on the earnings from frozen Russian assets, at least for non-military purposes.

Banga, who is attending a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers who are hashing out the concept of such a loan, said in an interview that the World Bank has ample experience in managing similar non-military donor fund facilities, including one for Afghanistan and could "replicate" that work for a Ukraine loan.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting in northern Italy, Banga said he has not been approached by the U.S. Treasury or G7 governments on the matter but would be prepared to do so. He said he is not party to the G7 discussions on Ukraine financing.

"All I know is that if they do decide to give it to us, would I be ready? Yeah," Banga said. "I could manage a fund of that type. I would need safeguards, I would need to make sure our people understand how to use it."

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Keith Weir)