ADB Helps Improve Living Conditions in PRC's Poor Northwest

News Release | 24 June 2011

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $100 million loan to build new urban infrastructure that will improve living conditions and support the growth of tourism in five remote counties in northwest People's Republic of China.

The ADB Board of Directors has approved financing to build and upgrade roads, water supply, waste management and heating systems for the counties in Altay prefecture, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region―among the poorest counties in the country.

"Developing this badly needed infrastructure will improve the quality of life for about 100,000 urban residents in the five counties, as well as helping to reduce poverty," said Jingmin Huang, ADB Urban Development Specialist.

Altay, which is in the northern most part of the region and has land borders with Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the Russia Federation, has a number of scenic attractions, making tourism a potentially important contributor to the local economy. However, damaged roads, ageing utilities, and poor waste management and sanitation, are creating environmental problems that are undermining efforts to promote tourism.

The project will build or upgrade over 50 km of roads, expand and improve water supply, and put in place new wastewater treatment facilities and sanitary landfills for solid waste management. It will also upgrade heating services with two new or upgraded central heating coal-fired boiler stations. Tourist facilities will be established in the popular White Birch Scenic Area in Habahe. The project will also promote reduction, reuse and recycling approaches to municipal service delivery in the project counties.

"These initiatives will bring in low-impact urban development with low carbon footprint in the project counties as well as supporting growth in tourism," said Ms.Huang.

ADB's loan from ordinary capital resources has a 26-year term, with a grace period of 6 years and an interest rate determined in accordance with ADB's LIBOR-based lending facility. The government will provide counterpart financing of $68.52 million.

The Altay Prefecture Government is the executing agency for the project which is due for completion in December 2017.