WASHINGTON, DC, June 3, 2010 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a loan of $84 million to the People’s Republic of China to assist Chongqing Municipality’s efforts to meet the challenges of rapid urbanization. The project aims to increase resident access to improved public services including roads, water supply, employment training, and primary health care.
In recent years, Chongqing municipality has seen the rapid urbanization of its population, increasing from 36 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2008. The disparity of wealth between urban and rural areas is also rising, with average income per capita almost 3.8 times higher in urban than in rural areas.
In response, the Chongqing Municipal Government is focusing its near and medium-term policies on the expansion of basic infrastructure and social services in lagging rural areas. It is supporting rural transportation investment to better connect rural areas with urban centers, where employment opportunities and social services are more abundant. The Chongqing Urban-Rural Integration Project will assist the Government in achieving these objectives. The World Bank will finance roughly 44 % of the total project investment of US$190.16 million.
The project consists of five components: (i) Roads and Water Supply; (ii) Township and Village Infrastructure Improvement; (iii) Migrant Workers’ Training for Transfer and Employment, which expands access and improves the quality of training for rural migrants to enhance their employability; (iv) Community Health Care Services, which improves access and enhances quality of health care services in rural and peri-urban Chongqing; and (v) Institutional Support and Technical Assistance, which facilitates project implementation through consulting services.
“The current project supports balanced long term growth in both urban and rural areas through the provision of basic services. The convergence of living standards usually occurs through migration from rural to urban areas reducing the surplus of labor on agricultural land and competition in rural labor markets. The project will enhance such integration,” said Paul Kriss, World Bank’s Lead Urban Specialist and Urban Sector Coordinator for China who is in charge of the project.
The World Bank and Chongqing Municipality have worked together over the past 15 years on a series of projects and studies to tackle urban environmental problems and improve living conditions in the center and secondary cities as well as towns. Recent projects include the Chongqing Urban Environment Project, which improves wastewater treatment and solid waste management through the construction of two large treatment plants and a solid waste landfill, and the Chongqing Small Cities Infrastructure Improvement Project which focuses on infrastructure development in several smaller districts and counties consisting of water supply schemes, river embankments for flood protection and secondary roads.