World Bank to pour more in­vest­ment into Chi­nese projects

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONG NAN zhong­nan@chi­

In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Corp, the pri­vate sec­tor fi­nanc­ing arm of the World Bank Group, plans to in­crease its in­vest­ment in China’s agri­cul­ture, pol­lu­tion con­trol and ur­ban­iza­tion projects over the next three years, ac­cord­ing to one of its re­gional heads.

“The op­por­tu­ni­ties come from the coun­try’s on­go­ing steps to make good use of for­eign in­vest­ment — to ad­vance sup­ply-side struc­tural re­form, up­grade the econ­omy, as well as catch­ing up with global

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tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments,” said Vivek Pathak, IFC’s re­gional di­rec­tor for East Asia and the Pa­cific.

In the long-term, Pathak said China’s eco­nomic growth pace was still at­trac­tive for global in­vest­ment as the coun­try de­ployed more re­sources to build emerg­ing and sus­tain­able in­dus­tries, cre­ate new jobs and tackle cli­mate change.

China and In­dia cur­rently are the two big­gest des­ti­na­tions for IFC’s in­vest­ment in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. IFC in­vested about $700 mil­lion in China’s in­fra­struc­ture, man­u­fac­tur­ing, agribusi­ness, mi­cro fi­nance and other ser­vice sec­tors in 2016.

IFC re­cently com­mit­ted $200 mil­lion in fi­nanc­ing to Shan­dong­based spe­cialty fer­til­izer man­u­fac­turer, Kin­genta Eco­log­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Group Co.

With this fund­ing, it aims to ex­pand an in­no­va­tive agri­cul­tural ser­vice plat­form and boost crop yields and in­come for mil­lions of Chi­nese farm­ers. The project will also help curb us­age of in­ef­fi­cient fer­til­iz­ers and pro­mote cli­mates­mart agri­cul­tural prac­tices in China.

Kin­genta plans to set up hun- dreds of new crop pro­duc­tion ser­vice cen­ters across China in the next five years. The com­pany said th­ese cen­ters will en­sure farm­ers have ac­cess to its high-ef­fi­ciency fer­til­iz­ers and other high-qual­ity in­puts such as seeds, and train­ing.

China cur­rently is work­ing with the World Bank to make its agri­cul­ture in­dus­try more com­pet­i­tive and mit­i­gate the ef­fects of food pro­duc­tion on the en­vi­ron­ment. More ef­fi­cient, spe­cialty fer­til­iz­ers re­duce soil con­tain­ment and wa­ter­way pol­lu­tion.

The IFC re­gional leader said that en­cour­ag­ing the phas­ing-out of overused, in­ef­fi­cient fer­til­iz­ers was part of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s strat­egy to re­duce pol­lu­tion and mit­i­gate cli­mate change.

“China has be­come part of in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to pur­sue com­mon de­vel­op­ment and com­mon pros­per­ity for coun­tries and re­gions re­lated to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” said Pathak.

“They need to gain new growth mo­men­tum, via what Chi­nese com­pa­nies have and are pro­fi­cient in.”

Since 2014, the IFC has in­vested a to­tal $24.5 bil­lion in coun­tries and re­gions re­lated to the ini­tia­tive across a wide and di­verse range of sec­tors, in­clud­ing trans­porta­tion and lo­gis­tics, power, tele­coms, man­u­fac­tur­ing, agribusi­ness and bank­ing.

“The boost to in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity is a pri­or­ity un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” said Gao Peiy­ong, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Eco­nom­ics at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences in Beijing.

“That’s be­cause in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment will re­quire a high de­gree of co­or­di­na­tion among coun­tries and re­gions, the pri­vate sec­tor and the pub­lic, as well as vast in­vest­ments of fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal and ma­te­rial re­sources.”

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