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WB to Lend China US$1.5 Bln Yearly Until 2010
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The World Bank expects to lend up to US$1.5 billion a year to China between now and 2010 to help it combat poverty and environmental and sustainable development challenges, according to a World Bank conference held yesterday.


The bank said that its board of directors has endorsed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for China covering the period between 2006 and 2010.


Poverty alleviation, helping China to integrate into the world economy, strengthening its financial sector, improving public and market institutions, and environmental protection are the five major objectives of the new five-year plan.


In support of the five major objectives, the CPS includes a large program of analytical and advisory services, and research and training to facilitate policy discussions and underpin future lending.


"The new Country Partnership Strategy recognizes clearly that helping China to strengthen its economy, manage its resources and environment and improve governance are important not only for the Chinese people but also for people all over the world," according to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.


Under the scheme the bank will lend up to US$1.5 billion annually to China, with about 70 percent of the cash going to proposed projects in inland provinces.


"China remains a developing country, with GDP (gross domestic product) per capita about US$1,740 and more than 135 million people living on less than a US$1 a day, mostly in rural areas and in inland provinces which lag behind," the bank said.


"The key aim of our strategy is to help China address its environmental challenges, social challenges and poverty challenges," said David Dollar, the World Bank's China country director. 


The plan has a big role for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, which expects new investments in China to exceed US$500 million per year.


"IFC will continue to provide technical assistance to help improve the business environment in China, while complementary investments help to strengthen the financial sector, shift assets into the private sector and encourage the private sector to adopt international best practices," IFC's Executive Vice President Lars Thunell said.


According to Dollar, IFC's lending will go directly to the private sector, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises outside the coastal areas.


(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2006)

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