updated 9/26/2007 1:40:03 PM ET 2007-09-26T17:40:03

Representatives from donor nations on Tuesday pledged more than $100 million to help the world's least developed countries fight poverty by improving their ability to benefit from global trade.

The donations will go to a trust fund aimed at helping poor countries develop the capacity to trade effectively, for example by improving infrastructure or fighting corruption.

Twenty-two of the 34 donor countries represented at the conference in Stockholm made pledges, with the biggest amounts coming from Britain, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Organizers said they were satisfied with the result, adding that the overall goal was to raise $400 million over the next five years, divided between the trust fund and bilateral donations.

The program covers 45 of the world's least developed nations, including Lesotho, Rwanda and Senegal, and is backed by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and three U.N. agencies.

"Trade can be a positive engine for growth, poverty reduction and human development," WTO Director General Pascal Lamy told the conference, noting that the world's poorest countries account for only 0.6 percent of global exports.

British Aid Minister Gareth Thomas said in a statement that developing countries "need the capacity to trade through better roads, ports and customs so goods can go from factory to shop floor."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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