New Book Marks 30 Years of a Transforming PRC–ADB Relationship

News Release | 5 November 2018

BEIJING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (5 November 2018) — Over the past three decades, the relationship between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has transformed from borrower-lender into a partnership for policy development, capacity building, and knowledge sharing.

“The PRC is now working closely with ADB to find ways to address its own challenges and to share its rich experience with other countries and development partners in Asia and the Pacific,” said ADB Vice-President Mr. Stephen Groff. “Going forward, the PRC government and ADB will continue to work closely together to ensure their partnership remains responsive to the evolving needs of the PRC and the region.”

Mr. Groff was in Beijing to launch A Partnership Transformed, a book detailing 30 years of cooperation between the PRC and ADB. While in Beijing, he also attended the International Forum on China’s Reform and Opening-Up and Poverty Reduction on 1 November and the annual meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a high-level advisory body to the PRC government, on 2–3 November.

The book describes the transformation of the PRC and its relationship with ADB. When the PRC joined ADB in March 1986, it was a low-income country seeking financial, technical, and knowledge support while ADB was a fairly young institution, providing project finance in a region that was seeking to pull itself out of poverty. Since then, the PRC has grown into the second-largest economy in the world after the United States, yet still faces a number of development challenges, including persistent inequality and regional disparity, environmental degradation and climate change, and a rapidly aging population.

Between 1986 and 2017, ADB has approved $39.1 billion in financing for the PRC. Initially, the support was to the PRC’s eastern coastal region for finance and industry, but the focus has since shifted to the central, northeast, and western regions with greater emphasis on poverty reduction, regionally balanced growth, environmental protection, and helping the PRC tackle climate change.

South-south cooperation for knowledge has become a key part of the PRC–ADB partnership, and the PRC has expanded its role in ADB. In 2005, the PRC contributed for the first time to ADB’s fund for concessional lending and set up the PRC Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund, a trust fund to finance technical assistance projects implemented by ADB.

Looking ahead, the book notes that the PRC and ADB are well-positioned to build on past achievements and address the PRC’s ongoing development challenges. ADB’s support during the period 2016–2020 includes multi-sector programs to improve air quality in the Greater Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei area and ecological recovery in the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

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.