China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will receive a loan of $100 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for urban living improvements designed to spur sustainable growth and improve the environment, ADB announced Wednesday.
The ADB Board of Directors approved the loan from its ordinary capital resources for the Xinjiang Urban Transport and Environmental Improvement Project, the bank said in a statement.
"The project will generate employment opportunities, and improve urban living standards and the environment for residents in the project cities, particularly for ethnic minorities and the poor," said Raushan Mamatkulov, Urban Development Specialist in ADB's East Asia Department.
The loan will be used to build or upgrade over 100 km of roads; to install traffic signals and other road safety systems and to construct public toilets and other sanitation facilities, the statement said.
The project complements other ADB-financed initiatives to improve urban infrastructure in Xinjiang, and supports the China's own drive to spur economic development and environmental improvements in the west of the country, it said.
Xinjiang, which shares borders with eight countries and provides a gateway between China and Central Asia, has 46 minority groups, which make up over 60 percent of its population. It also has some of China's highest poverty rates and has lagged coastal regions in benefiting from the country's economic boom. Poor urban infrastructure has deterred investment, degraded the environment and limited growth opportunities, especially in the promising tourism sector.
Since 1992, ADB has provided more than 39 loans worth nearly $4.9 billion to China for urban infrastructure and environment projects.