The World Bank is "well positioned" to provide support for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, said World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim.
Kim made the remarks in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua before his upcoming visit to China scheduled for Nov. 1-7.
He said the WBG can support BRI projects with its experience in similar trade and connectivity projects, its unique institutional setup covering private and public sectors, as well as its range of financial and non-financial services, such as guarantees and investment dispute settlement.
"The WBG can, for instance, advise on the economic viability of infrastructure investments, complementary policy and regulatory reforms, and the application of environmental, social and fiduciary standards," he added.
The WBG is undertaking a comprehensive study on the economic impact of the BRI to help better inform policy makers in countries along its paths, Kim said, adding that it's also cooperating with Chinese institutions on setting standards in areas such as anti-corruption.
While developing countries and emerging markets have a "massive infrastructure deficit," the focus of the BRI needs to be on "broader connectivity and integration" and beyond building roads, rail and bridges, said the World Bank chief.
"Countries along the Belt and Road must improve border and customs procedures, trade facilitation, and investment climates to maximize development benefits from investments in infrastructure," he said.
In Kim's view, the size and scale of the BRI involves cross-border, complex and large infrastructure investments, and the success of these investments is "highly dependent on the overall viability of the projects as well as on the institutional capacity of countries."
"We need to be vigilant and mitigate potential risks -- including debt sustainability -- to ensure they don't undermine the BRI's potential benefits," he said, adding the WBG is prepared to provide interested member countries with support to maximize the development benefits of BRI projects.
The BRI, proposed in 2013, aims to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes, thus building a platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of growth.