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ADB to Lend More to Nation's Hinterland
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday it plans to lend more to China next year to help it build infrastructure, protect the environment and conserve natural resources.

Bruce Murray, the bank's resident representative in China, said: "ADB's proposed lending programme in 2003 is estimated at US$1.4 billion to US$1.5 billion for eight projects, all of which are located in the poorer central and western provinces."

That compares with the US$833.8 million in loans to China it approved this year. The bank also provided US$12 million in technical assistance grants to finance policy studies and build China's capacity in key strategic areas.

Murray said the ADB would continue with its mission of helping create a favorable business environment for private enterprises but highlighted obstacles to their growth. Those include corruption, excessive government interference, local protectionism and the lack of a legal regulatory system or impartial, transparent judicial system.

The ADB is promoting loan guarantee services for private, small and medium-sized firms and working with the Chinese Government on an equity investment fund to meet their equity needs, according to Tang Min, ADB's chief economist in China.

"It's likely that the detailed rules will come out next year," Tang said, adding that the size of the fund is not yet determined.

(China Daily December 18, 2002)

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