MANILA, PHILIPPINES (10 December 2018) —The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $250 million loan to enhance cross-border trade opportunities and improve urban infrastructure and services in Lincang Prefecture in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Situated in the remote southwest region of Yunnan Province on the border with Myanmar, Lincang Prefecture is characterized by significant urban and rural poverty, with annual disposable income per capita well below the average of the PRC. Many Myanmar nationals work in the border counties of the prefecture and their families use the hospitals and schools there in preference to the limited municipal services available in Myanmar.
Trade between the PRC and Myanmar rose to $9.7 billion in 2015 from $3.6 billion in 2010. While Lincang Prefecture’s border location with Myanmar provides the potential for it to become an important economic corridor, its poor infrastructure and the low competitiveness of its second- and third-tier cities are holding back cross-border trade and sustainable economic and social development.
ADB’s Yunnan Lincang Border Economic Cooperation Zone Development Project will address cross-border trade capacity, border connectivity, and urban and social development issues in the border counties of Cangyuan Wa, Gengma Dai and Wa, and Zhenkang in Lincang Prefecture. The project will also help make this remote border area of the PRC more attractive to private sector investors.
“By designing an integrated multisector project that includes improved urban, social, and trading infrastructure and services, ADB will enhance competitive, green, and inclusive development in these small and medium-sized urban centers of the PRC,” said ADB Principal Urban Development Specialist Mr. Antonio Ressano-Garcia.
The project will finance a new border resident trade market and a logistics and industrial park as well as connecting urban secondary roads and bridges. Improvements to the utilities in the cities of Mengding and Qingshuihe include construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, and municipal solid waste management systems. In addition, the project will build two new hospitals and build or upgrade two elementary schools.
“Although the project is being implemented entirely in the PRC, Myanmar nationals will benefit from the cross-border spillover effects. For example, about 40% of the children studying in schools being constructed under the project are from Myanmar,” Mr. Ressano-Garcia added.
The total cost of the project, which is expected to be completed by mid-2024, is $402.8 million, with the PRC government providing $152.8 million in counterpart financing. The project is in line with the PRC’s New-Type Urbanization Plan of 2014 which looks to develop cities that work best for those that live in them.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.