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China still a developing country: World Bank chief

By KJM Varma
September 08, 2010 12:35 IST
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China remained a developing country facing many challenges, including alleviating poverty in rural areas, despite emerging as a second largest economy of the world, World Bank President Robert B Zoellick has said.

"China has scored amazing economic success for the past three decades, not only in terms of high growth rates, but also in poverty reduction and other areas," Zoellick who would begin week-long visit to China on Thursday told Xinhua news agency in an interview.

However, he said, "China is still a developing country." Tremendous changes have taken place in China over the past decades, but there are still many people in China's poor rural areas that don't even have access to electricity, he said.

According to World Bank estimates, China's 208 million rural poor accounted for the second largest national concentration of absolute poor in the world after India.

Commenting on China surpassing Japan as the world's second largest economy in the second quarter of this year, he said people outside China don't know there are still many poor people in China, and they need to "recognise China's conditions of being a developing country.

"On China's challenges in the coming years, he said China needs to continue to pay attention to rebalancing development domestically in many sectors.

"This is not only a rebalancing of savings and consumption, but also urban and rural issues and related to that the possibility of increasing value-added production in China to support higher income and better living standards," he said.

In addition, the World Bank chief said China could try to address risks from spiking bank loans, the larger international economic environment, and environmental protection, among other things.

Zoellick's forthcoming visit would be his fourth official trip to China since he took office as the World Bank chief in July 2007, and one of the top priorities of the visit will be to attend activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the China-World Bank partnership.

He said the two-way collaboration as a "very fruitful one," adding that the World Bank is very proud of its partnership with China.

"What I think is most important about the China-World Bank relationship is that it is adjusted over time as China has changed," Zoellick said.

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KJM Varma
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