Fidelis Utabeki Ugbo, an official with Nigeria’s National Planning Commission, was at a pig farm in Feixi County, Anhui Province in Central China. The farm, which sells 2,000 pigs and makes 3 million yuan each year, got a loan from Feixi Rural Commercial Bank a couple of years ago and with that was able to develop from a “mom-and-pop” little farm to a 50-acre one which hires 5 workers today.
Ugbo talked to the farm owner as well as loan officers from the bank, to learn about how access to financing could help micro, small and medium enterprises grow. “What I see first-hand here is that for farmers better access to financing truly means better growth opportunities,” he said. “I think financial institutions in my country should realize this too and remove obstacles in micro, small and medium enterprises financing.”
Ugbo is one of the 10 participants from Africa who attended the “2012 China-Africa Experience Sharing Program” from Nov. 5 to 12. The ongoing program kicked off in 2008 and its annual events since then have focused on different themes – trade and foreign direct investment, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development reforms, special economic zones, industrial cluster development, etc.
This year’s event, co-hosted by China’s Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, centered on micro, small and medium enterprises financing and inclusive growth.
During the same week, Abdulrahman Ali, Director General, Ministry of Highway and Transportation of Sudan, was in Beijing with other 33 officials from 19 African countries, attending the “Development Cooperation Workshop on Infrastructure Development in Africa”.
On November 6 and 7, they, together with Chinese officials and experts from international organizations and private sector, discussed how to better support infrastructure development in Africa.
The workshop, jointly delivered by China’s Ministry of Commerce and the World Bank, was grounded upon China’s commitment to expand its infrastructure support to Africa to $20 billion over the next four years, as articulated by President Hu Jintao during the July Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Ministerial Meeting in Beijing.
The two events are both core part of the World Bank’s support to the Chinese Government’s south-south cooperation priority. “This is also a key element of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for China,” said Joyce Msuya, Coordinator for East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank Institute.