Planned $3 Billion for PRC for 2007-2008 to Be Spread to Agriculture, Energy Efficiency

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB’s planned average lending of $1.5 billion per year to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the next two years will be spread more evenly across different sectors.

According to its updated strategy and program for the country, ADB will maintain its focus on projects for the poorer central and western provinces. But the proportion of loans to agriculture and natural resources projects will more than double from 10% to 25%, and the social infrastructure sector’s share will increase from 10% to 23%, compared with the lending program during 2004-2006.

Transportation, a sector that has historically received the bulk of ADB’s loans, will receive 41% of the loans, down from a 59% share in 2005. The remaining 11% will go to energy projects.

“ADB’s future operations in the PRC will emphasize rural development, environment, energy conservation, urban development, and regional cooperation, in line with the country's 11th Five-Year Program for 2006-2010,” says Toru Shibuichi, ADB Country Director for the PRC.

“ADB will mobilize resources and develop new instruments to meet the demand for more balanced development among China's regions, and between the country's rural and urban areas.”

China has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty, with the number of rural poor falling from about 250 million in 1978 to about 23.7 million in 2005. More targeted and innovative approaches, however, are needed to work on pockets of persistent absolute poverty, the vulnerability of a large population living on the brink of poverty, and new manifestations of urban poverty.

Also, while China is poised to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for maternal health and primary education, dramatic improvements are needed to meet the targets for gender equity, environmental sustainability, child mortality, HIV/AIDS, and access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

In addition to the proposed loan program, $23.6 million in technical assistance grants is planned over the next two years for policy and institutional reforms, legal reforms and governance, training, and project preparation.

As of end-2005, ADB has approved $16.24 billion for 115 loans and $257.1 million for 483 technical assistance grants to the PRC. ADB’s portfolio in the PRC continues to be one of ADB’s best, with no projects marked “at risk” in recent years.