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WB Lends US$250 Mln to Improve Roads in Ningxia

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The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors Friday approved a loan of US$250 million to the People's Republic of China to help improve the road infrastructure in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in support of more balanced social and economic development.

Located in the western interior, Ningxia is one of the poorest provinces in China with about 10 percent of its people living below the poverty line. Ningxia's lack of transport accessibility coupled with its landlocked status has hindered its social and economic development and prevented it from meeting its development potential. The Ningxia Government is making great efforts to develop and improve its road infrastructure to better connect the major industrial areas with urban areas, and link these areas to the provincial and national expressway network.

The Ningxia Highway Project will support the construction of a key transport infrastructure corridor to provide one of the missing links in the expressway network, and the rehabilitation of a key national highway to connect major developing areas. In addition, the Bank will support part of Ningxia's Local Road Improvement Program, which addresses the needs of the poor and disadvantaged people.

"Through the project, we hope to help enhance the quality of transport infrastructure and services for the people in Ningxia, so that they can have better access to economic opportunities and improve their living conditions," said World Bank Transport Specialist Deng Fei, who is in charge of the project.

World Bank finance accounts for over 44 percent of the total project cost of US$573.68 million. Specifically, the US$250 million loan will finance construction of a four-lane expressway connecting Guyaozi to Qingtongxia, improvement of some rural roads in the poorest counties, and rehabilitation of three badly damaged sections of National Highway G211 between Lingwu and Huianpu. The project will also support studies of road safety, highway maintenance, logistics, staff training, procurement of maintenance equipment, and enhancement of public road safety awareness. As the second highway project financed by the World Bank in Ningxia, it will build upon the experience gained from the earlier Tri-Provincial Highway Project.

(China Development Gateway May 14, 2010)

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