The project will support the urban development of three medium-sized cities in the southwestern part of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Guangxi) Fangchenggang City, Chongzuo City, and Baise City. All the project cities are surrounded by counties with widespread poverty. The project will have six investment components in the project cities and one capacity development component. The investment components in each project city will be part of an overall city development program guided by a well-prepared city development master plan. The capacity development component is designed to complement the infrastructure development to be funded under the project.
The project has a number of special features. It is part of the national poverty reduction strategy to promote inclusive growth in the less-developed western PRC. All the project cities are at strategic positions of the regional transport corridors under the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) economic cooperation framework. Development of the urban economy in these cities is the driving force in converting these transport corridors into economic corridors for GMS economic cooperation, which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting. The project has adopted a holistic approach to building urban roads and underground municipal infrastructure in a coherent and integrated manner. Construction of urban infrastructure is supported with capacity development and environmental improvement components, including activities to strengthen climate change resilience of coastal and inland urban areas.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Guangxi is one of the 12 less-developed provinces and autonomous regions targeted for support under the government's National Strategy for Development of the West. This is a long-term strategic initiative to rebalance the economic development of different regions in the country. It includes massive investment to (i) build and/or upgrade the infrastructure to improve their connectivity and productivity, (ii) deploy and relocate strategic industries in these less-developed provinces and autonomous regions to facilitate economic transformation and create jobs, and (iii) promote urban development to improve the urban environment and living conditions. The government proposes the project as part of the support for accelerated urbanization and economic development in poverty-stricken southwestern Guangxi.
Guangxi and the project cities have unique comparative advantages. Guangxi is the only western province and/or autonomous region of the PRC that has both deepwater seaports and land ports at the international borders. Guangxi serves as the gateway for many landlocked western provinces to the international market. Through intensive investment in the construction of transport infrastructure under the National Strategy for Development of the West, Guangxi has built a well-developed expressway system that directly connects Yunnan and Guizhou, two landlocked and less-developed western provinces, with Guangxi's seaports at the Beibu Gulf and its land ports at the international border with Viet Nam.
The three project cities are strategically located at the important intersections of Guangxi's transport network. Fangchenggang City serves as a multimodal transportation hub that connects the expressway and railway with deepwater seaports. Chongzuo City is a regional logistics center in the GMS transportation corridor and facilitates international trade with GMS countries through the land ports at Guangxi's border with Viet Nam. Baise City, as a nodal city in the inter-province highway and expressway system, provides the critical link for Yunnan and Guizhou provinces to the seaports at Beibu Gulf through the transport system in Guangxi. Guangxi and the project cities are at the center of a number of regional cooperation endeavors, including GMS economic cooperation promoted by ADB, and the PRC Association of Southeast Asian Nations free trade area.
Accelerated urban development of these project cities is required not only to create non-agriculture jobs for the poor farmers of the surrounding counties, but also as part of the national development strategy to integrate the less-developed southwestern PRC with the international market through the transport networks in Guangxi. The project is consistent with the PRC country partnership strategy, 2008 2010, which emphasizes the operational focus of ADB on support of urban infrastructure, balanced regional development, urban environmental improvement, and regional integration. Detailed sector analysis for the project is provided in the summary sector assessment.