BEIJING, May 21, 2007 ─ Mr. Juan José Daboub, World Bank Managing Director concluded last week his eight-day visit to China. Mr. Daboub’s program in China included meetings with the key government agencies, bilateral and multilateral partners, academic, civil society and private sector representatives; field visits to World Bank-supported projects in Shaanxi, Zhejiang and Shanghai; and participation in the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings.
Mr. Daboub met with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, National Development and Reform Commission, and Ministry of Commerce and was pleased to hear directly from them the continued appreciation of the cooperation between China and the World Bank. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to deepen this long-standing partnership, acknowledging China’s increasingly important role in supporting the development efforts of other countries. “The World Bank welcomes China’s efforts to expand overseas assistance and cooperation, particularly in Africa. We want to work with China to help maximize the development impact, especially for the poor and the vulnerable,” he said.
During his visit to the Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation II Project (Shaanxi), which is one of the largest erosion control programs in the world, Mr. Daboub saw terraced land, orchards and embankments built under the project, which lifted 2.5 million Chinese people out of poverty. “I am proud that World Bank has been part of this very successful program. It was inspiring to hear from the local farmers how their life and environment changed as a result of this project,” said Mr. Daboub.
Mr. Daboub attended a presentation on the Xi’an Comprehensive Urban Transport Project being proposed for World Bank funding.. He was pleased to see how the Bank and Xi’an municipality work together to address the dual challenge of improving urban traffic in the historic city of Xi’an while protecting its cultural heritage and reducing the environmental impact. He commended the project teams from the Bank and the government for their exemplary efforts for the upstream involvement in the project design process which facilitated the consolidation of interests into a comprehensive policy, planning, and design approach.
In Zhejiang province, Mr. Daboub was briefed on the Ningbo Water and Environment Management Project which focuses on improving water supply and wastewater treatment for the city and its suburban area, as well as the wetland development project supported by a GEF grant. These projects are expected to benefit more than 3 million people. “It is very important for a city to invest in water supply and wastewater infrastructure for improving the quality of life and business climate, and sustaining rapid economic growth,” observed Mr. Daboub. Environment-related projects account for about 60% of the World Bank’s lending portfolio to China.
At the last leg of his trip in Shanghai, Mr. Daboub visited Waigaoqiao Coal Fired Thermal Power Plant which is China’s first 900 MW and most advanced coal fired power plant. Mr. Daboub was pleased to hear that the plant, which was supported by a $400 million World Bank loan, is also one of the cleanest and the most efficient coal fired plants in the country. “We are keen to continue our partnership with China in the energy sector to help raise energy efficiency and promote clean energy, as well as to address climate change through various mechanisms such as Clean Development Mechanism,” he said.
Mr. Daboub also attended the African Development Bank’s Annual Meeting held in Shanghai on May 16-17 and had the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with African Governors, as well as representatives from other development agencies. Commenting on China’s growing presence in Africa, Mr. Daboub said, “Chinese investment in Africa can bring major benefits to the continent’s developing economies – not only in boosting business activity and growth and delivering much needed infrastructure but also in providing a platform for exchange of lessons, ideas and international best practices among all parties involved”. The World Bank has been discussing possible cooperation with China’s EXIM Bank on investment projects in a number of pilot countries in Africa.
“It has been a great experience visiting China and seeing first hand its impressive progress, led by the dynamism of the private sector, towards reducing poverty and addressing the development challenges of energy and environment,” said Mr. Daboub. “China’s experience is a valuable contribution to the world development agenda as it offers many lessons and success stories that could be replicated elsewhere,” he concluded.