LONDON - Developing nations must be ready for a severe global financial crisis should the euro zone fail to cope with its current problems, outgoing World Bank chief Robert Zoellick said in an interview published online on Saturday.

Policymakers and investors are nervously awaiting the outcome of this weekend's Greek election, which could empower radical leftists threatening to tear up the terms of a bailout deal and send shockwaves through financial markets.

Developing countries needed to "prepare for the uncertainty coming out of the euro zone and the wider financial markets", Zoellick told Britain's Observer newspaper.

"It will be better if they can avoid piling up short-term debts that can come due in volatile periods and look to the fundamentals of future growth - infrastructure and human capital," he said.

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