Building on a cooperative relationship spanning over 35 years, the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for fiscal years 2013 through 2016 is aligned with China’s 12th Five-Year Plan. It is also informed by the joint study, China 2030, prepared by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of the State Council. To support China’s goal of a harmonious society, the Bank Group focuses on three main areas of engagement:
- Supporting greener growth, by helping China shift to a more sustainable energy path; enhancing urban environmental services; promoting low-carbon urban transport; promoting sustainable agriculture practices; piloting sustainable natural resource management approaches; demonstrating pollution management; and strengthening mechanisms for managing climate change.
- Promoting more inclusive development, by increasing access to quality health services and social protection; strengthening skills development programs, including for migrant workers; enhancing opportunities in rural areas and small towns; and improving transport connectivity for more balanced regional development.
- Advancing mutually beneficial relations with the world, by supporting China’s South-South cooperation and China’s role as a global stakeholder.
In addition, the Bank will provide client-driven knowledge services that help underpin reforms needed to reenergize the drivers of growth.
The Bank Group’s most valuable contribution in China remains its role in bringing and applying ideas, innovation, and knowledge. The CPS emphasizes knowledge sharing and cooperation through advice and analytical products and through investments at the provincial level that introduce and demonstrate new approaches.
A Performance Learning Review (PLR) of the CPS, prepared in early 2016, found good progress in implementing the CPS.
As of June 30, 2016, Bank cumulative lending (IBRD and IDA) to China was about $57.71 billion for 399 projects. The portfolio is concentrated in environment, transportation, urban development, rural development, energy, water resources management, and human development.
In line with the government’s increased emphasis on growth that is balanced with social and environmental concerns, the focus of the Bank’s activities in China has shifted significantly.
Today, more than 70% of the Bank’s portfolio has environmental objectives, many with global implications. The Bank also pays particular attention to the western and central provinces, where poverty rates are significantly higher than in coastal provinces. About two-thirds of active projects are in lagging interior provinces.
New approaches are also being introduced to finance investments to improve energy efficiency, pilot and expand the use of innovative renewable energy sources, rehabilitate and modernize urban district heating systems, and address air pollution. Urban environmental management is being strengthened to help cities meet challenges such as rapid motorization.
As China develops, collaborative research and analysis are becoming an important part of the Bank’s engagement. For example, China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative Society, a joint research report by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council, lays out six strategic directions for China’s future: completing the transition to a market economy; accelerating the pace of open innovation; going “green” to transform environmental stresses into green growth as a driver for development; expanding opportunities and services such as health, education and access to jobs for all people; modernizing and strengthening its domestic fiscal system; and seeking mutually beneficial relations with the world by connecting China’s structural reforms to the changing international economy.
Urban China: Toward Efficient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Urbanization, also a joint research report by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council, recommends that China curb rapid urban sprawl by reforming land requisition, give migrants urban residency and equal access to basic public services, and reform local finances by finding stable revenues and by allowing local governments to borrow directly within strict central rules.
To meet growing demand from other developing countries to learn from China, the Bank also plays the role of knowledge broker to support China in sharing its development experience.
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
China is IFC’s second largest portfolio country. Since its first investment in 1985 to date, IFC has invested US$12 billion (combined IFC's own account and mobilization, including short-term finance) to support over 350 projects across 30 provinces in China. In fiscal year 2016, IFC has invested US$1.2 billion in 25 projects.
IFC’s strategic priorities in China focus on climate change, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency, clean tech, green policy and green credit; balanced rural and urban development, including a focus on frontier regions, food safety, scaling up microfinance outreach and capacity, and agricultural linkages; and China’s outbound investment, including partnerships with Chinese firms to invest in other emerging economies, particularly in Africa, mobilizing capital, syndication loans, and sharing knowledge and standards.
Last Updated: Sep 14, 2016