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Aid, loans will help nations taking part

Zhong Nan
Updated: May 16,2017 7:27 AM     China Daily

China’s offer of 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) in financial assistance through free aid and loans without interest will help participants of the Belt and Road Initiative meet their target for sustainable development, the Ministry of Commerce said on May 15.

The assistance, which will be in place in the coming three years, will enable the participating countries to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the ministry’s department of foreign assistance said in a statement.

The ministry’s comment came after the central government announced on May 14 that the country will offer assistance to developing countries and international organizations participating in the initiative to improve the well-being of people in those nations as well as sustainable growth.

The 60 billion yuan will ensure countries and regions related to the initiative can develop trade, infrastructure facilities, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Chinese embassies and economic and commercial counselors’ offices in foreign nations will help select priority projects and conduct project assessments, as well as carry out agreement talks and oversee project implementation, the ministry said.

The Belt and Road Initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

China will provide emergency food aid worth 2 billion yuan to developing countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and make an additional contribution of $1 billion to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation.

In addition, the country will launch 100 “happy home” projects, 100 poverty alleviation projects and 100 healthcare and rehabilitation projects in countries along the trade routes.

“China’s financial assistance addresses the all-around challenges such as poverty, disease prevention, limited trade and investment channels, weak infrastructure and industrial foundation to many developing countries and regions today,” said Xing Houyuan, a member of the expert committee of the Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Xing said the country has to further modify its foreign aid methods by offering assistance for people’s basic needs, such as food and agricultural production, professional training, environment and industrial development.

China also will provide relevant international organizations with $1 billion to implement cooperation projects that will benefit the countries and regions related to the Belt and Road.

The ministry said China’s financial assistance to these global organizations will focus on poverty reduction, agriculture, education, healthcare and manufacturing development. It also will be helpful for China to integrate its technology, manufacturing and service expertise with them to benefit more people around the world.