The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a two-year loan valued by $17.1 billion for Romania to help the country get through the global economic crisis, the IMF's said in a statement Monday.

The approval makes $6.6 billion immediately available and the remainder will be available in installments subject to quarterly reviews of Romania's economy, the IMF said.

The total international financial support package will amount to $26.4 billion, with the European Union providing $6.6 billion, the World Bank $1.3 billion and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) a combined $1.3 billion.

The joint financial assistance being provided by the IMF, the European Union, and the World Bank will help cushion the economic downturn and will provide reassurance to markets that Romania's external obligations will be met, said John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman.

It sends a strong signal of the international community's confidence that with the consistent implementation of the program, Romania will weather the current difficulties and emerge with a better-balanced and more flexible economy, Mr. Lipsky said.

Economic activity in Romania turned down sharply in late 2008 and has fallen further in 2009. Economic growth is projected at about 4 percent in 2009 on account of a sharp contraction in domestic demand.

The IMF forecasts a contraction of 3.7 per cent in 2009 across the 26 countries of Eastern Europe and former Soviet states, compared with growth of 2.9 per cent last year.