The World Bank endorsed a wide-ranging plan to develop poorer parts of China between now and 2010 with about $2b a year earmarked for a variety of projects.
The bank said yesterday that its board of directors has endorsed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for China for 2006-2010.
Poverty alleviation, helping China integrate into the world economy, the strengthening of its financial sector, improving public and market institutions and environmental protection are the five major objectives of the new five-year plan, the bank said.
"The new Country Partnership Strategy recognizes clearly that helping China to strengthen its economy, manage its resources and environment and improve governance are important not only for the Chinese people but also for people all over the world," World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said.
Under the scheme the bank will lend up to US$1.5 billion annually to China, with about 70 per cent of the cash going to proposed projects in inland provinces.
"China remains a developing country, with GDP (gross domestic product) per capita about US$1,740 and more than 135 million people living on less than a US$1 a day, mostly in rural areas and in inland provinces which lag behind," the bank said.
"The key aim of our strategy is to help China address its environmental challenges, social challenges and poverty challenges," said David Dollar, the World Bank's China Country Director.
The plan has a big role for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, which expects new investments in China to exceed US$500 million per year, the World Bank said.
"IFC will continue to provide technical assistance to help improve the business environment in China, while complementary investments help to strengthen the financial sector, shift assets into the private sector and encourage the private sector to adopt international best practices," IFC's Executive Vice President Lars Thunell said.
IFC's lending, David said, will directly go to the private sector, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises outside the coastal areas.