World Bank Gives First Loan to Chinese Firm in Africa

The World Bank’s private-investment arm agreed to make its first loan to a Chinese company doing business in sub-Saharan Africa.

The International Finance Corp. said it will lend $10 million to a joint venture of China Railway Jianchang Engineering Co. and a Tanzanian non-governmental organization to help finance a retail and office building in Dar es Salaam.

“Supporting Chinese enterprises for development and cooperation with Africa is one of IFC’s strategic priorities,” Lars Thunell, the IFC’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This investment will contribute to Tanzania’s competitiveness as a regional center, and we believe it will be the first of many transactions bringing sustainable Chinese investment to Africa.”

World Bank President Robert Zoellick earlier this year said the agency may seek to co-invest with China in African manufacturing projects. China can bring expertise in building infrastructure and lessons from its own recent push to become a manufacturing hub, Zoellick said in a video conference from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Feb. 2.

The Washington-based bank said it helped make the design of the Tanzanian project to be energy and water efficient and ensure it treated water discharge because the city lacks a sewage treatment system. It said it will try to get other institutions to provide an additional $6.25 million for it.

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