Bert Hofman: Open Beijing keeps moving ahead

2018-December-10 16:18 By:

Bert Hofman, Country Director, China, Korea and Mongolia of the World Bank

My name is Hao Fuman (Bert Hofman). I’m the country director for the World Bank at the moment I have been living in China on and off for the last 20 years, working for the last 25 years. While the very first time was 1992, so that's 26 years ago. Beijing was a completely different place There was no airport road, and there were only two ring roads. One month after I came for the first time, Deng Xiaoping made his tour through the south, his famous tour through the south, which reignited the reforms that had started in 1978. Before that, if you want, between 1978 and 1992, reforms were still quite hesitant. But after 1992 I believe China has found its direction and reforms really sped up. So the Beijing Environment One paid a lot of attention to that, they brought in natural gas as a fuel into the city. They converted a lot of boilers into gas-fired boilers, and that by itself brought a lot of reduction in pollution. The second Beijing Environment was actually even more important that started in 2000 and that was briefly before Beijing was actually awarded the Beijing Olympics. And so that project, which again did two things. It further reduced air pollution. And second, by means of energy efficiency, by means of bringing in alternative fuels for energy, and by also relocating polluting industries. But second it majorly helped in cleaning up water. After this project,and with of course the efforts of the Beijing municipality itself, by the end of it, almost ninety percent was cleaned up. Those two things together, if you want, helped build the green Olympics of 2008. In addition, measures on transport, better fuels and better cars have reduced the pollution coming from transport. And even better use of better agricultural techniques has helped reducing air pollution. The World Bank has helped design some of those measures. A lot has already been achieved, and the numbers as they show are about twenty-five to thirty percent reduction in pollution compared to three, four years ago. So definitely there are results. China is now a nine thousand dollars per capita economy which of course is a huge jump from when China started reforms back in 1978 when it was barely two hundred dollars per capita. So to all people of Beijing .I'd like to thank you for hosting me over the past four and a half years. You have been a great home for me and my family and I really enjoyed living here. I think Beijing is one of the great cities of the world. I think it will only get better in the next decade, so I'm for sure.

Editor: WPY
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