IN AID OF CITIES: REGIONAL BANK SHOWCASE
Erle Frayne D. ArgonzaTapping Official Development Assistance or ODA by city administrators is no easy task to do. Often than not, a central/national government does the job of assessing local needs and recommending ODA allocations to specific towns and cities.
However, there are showcase cities in Asia that were able to tap World Bank funds directly for their development needs. One of them is Marikina for their infrastructure development. Another one is Quezon City, with a $300 million fund tapped for the development of North Triangle into a commercial hub. The two cities are component cities of the metropolitan Manila which is among the 35 or so ‘global nexus’ cities.
Such showcases of expertise and initiatives coming from the local government units or LGUs is surely a highly appreciable feat of self-reliance and good governance. Below is another showcase city in Asia, that of Tianshui City of China, moving along the same track as the Manila component cities.
[Philippines, 3 July 2011]
ADB $100 Million Loan Upgrades Urban Services in Western PRC's Tianshui City
30 Jun 2011
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending a $100 million loan to upgrade urban services and improve living conditions in Tianshui City in Gansu―one of the poorest and least developed provinces in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The ADB Board of Directors yesterday approved the loan for the Gansu Tianshui Urban Infrastructure Project, which will fund new roads and bridges, strengthen flood control facilities, and introduce a new environmentally friendly heating system using recycled wastewater. The project will deliver health and environmental benefits to around 670,000 residents in and around the city and create hundreds of jobs.
Tianshui lies along the ancient Silk Road trading route and has, like many cities in western PRC, lagged eastern and southern counterparts in terms of economic growth, investment, and poverty reduction. The PRC government is moving to redress that imbalance under its current five-year plan through to 2015.
Upgrading the existing district heating network to improve service quality and reduce harmful pollutants from coal-fired boilers and stoves is a key goal of the ADB project. A new transmission network will also be funded to carry recycled wastewater to a combined heat and power plant with the resultant hot water then piped back for heating needs.
“Reusing wastewater for district heating will improve air quality, reduce the need for municipal subsidies and improve affordability for the poor,” said Barry Reid, Senior Finance Specialist in ADB's East Asia Department.
A flood control embankment more than 10 km long will be built to combat seasonal overflows from the Xi and Wei rivers while the road improvements will help make the city’s transport system safer and more efficient. The project will also support government efforts to turn the Guanzhong-Tianshui Economic Zone into a key area of sustainable growth and investment for the northwest of the country.
Along with ADB, the China Development Bank is extending over $68 million and the Tianshui Municipal Government over $61 million, for a total project cost of nearly $230 million. The Tianshui Municipal Government is the executing agency for the project which is due for completion in December 2016.