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WB Chief on China Visit

Xinhua News Agency reported today that World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, speaking prior to his tour of China, Finland, Japan, Russia and Sweden, said one of his key aims in visiting China is to learn about its successes and challenges in large-scale poverty reduction.
"China clearly has come a long way. It is now more than just a country that has been successful in expanding its economy and reducing poverty. It is a major global economic force," Wolfowitz said.
"I am looking forward to seeing what the world - and particularly countries in Africa -- can learn from China - and also to hear more from Chinese people about their own aspirations," he added.
He said China has brought more than 400 million people above the one-dollar-a-day poverty line in the past two decades, a remarkable achievement, but its challenges are equally significant. China is still home to 18 percent of the world's poor, and the gap between rich and poor has been widening over the last twenty years.
Wolfowitz is embarking on a two-week trip to two of the World Bank's largest developing borrowers, China and Russia, as well as three major donors. It is his first visit to these countries since taking office in June.
In Tokyo, he is scheduled to discuss the creation of a new partnership with Japan to share experience, knowledge, ideas and innovation to generate growth and reduce poverty, the bank said in a statement.
"Japan is increasingly focusing on the world beyond Asia, and agencies like the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the world's largest bilateral donor, will be critical to that effort," said Wolfowitz.
He is due to visit China's rural western province of Gansu and Beijing to meet government officials, civil society and women's groups, and attend the G20 meeting.
In Russia, he will meet President Putin, members of his government and representatives of civil society. His trip will focus on the country's role in the global economy and its contribution to development as it prepares to chair the G8 next year.
He will then proceed to Stockholm and Helsinki, where he will meet central bank governors from the Nordic and Baltic states and hold talks with parliamentarians from around the world who are members of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank.

(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2005)


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