The Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) last year financed more than 1,000 projects in 49 countries involved in the  so-called Belt and Road or New Silk Road initiative in 2015, reported state news agency Xinhua.

The government-backed policy bank saw loans increase 46% to 520 billion yuan ($80 billion) during 2015.

In addition, investments by Chinese business grew 35% to $14.01 billion, during the first 11 months of 2015.

The Belt and Road Initiative is an ambitious program to create a trade and infrastructure network to connect Asia, Europe and Africa. The projects funded cover the areas of transportation, electricity, resources, telecommunication and industrial parks,

“Those projects are not only a boon for local growth, but facilitate a unified regional market and industrial value chains,” China Exim Bank spokesperson Dai Peng told Xinhua on Thursday.

China Exim Bank has also set up three cooperation funds for investment in Belt and Road areas and hopes more capital can be encouraged to join in, Dai added.

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