WASHINGTON, March 21, 2019—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$350 million loan today to help China address the challenge of population aging by developing a comprehensive policy and institutional framework for elderly care in the southwestern Guizhou Province, one of the poorest provinces in the country. The program will be co-financed by a loan of EUR100 million from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and nearly US$2 billion from the provincial and prefecture government budgets.
The Guizhou Aged Care System Development Program-for-Results (PforR) aims to increase equitable access to a basic package of care services for the elderly and to strengthen the quality of services and the efficiency of the aged care system. PforR is a loan instrument that uses a country’s own institutions and processes, and links disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific program results.
“Many industrialized countries and emerging markets are grappling with a rapidly aging population. The Government of China is committed to address this challenge and the province of Guizhou aims to be a pioneer in developing its aged care system,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China. “This program will form part of a larger World Bank-financed engagement to support China in the aged care sector reform and help strengthen its institutional systems and capacities.”
China’s population is aging rapidly. People 65 years of age and older are expected to represent 26 percent of the population by 2050, up from 11.4 percent in 2017. Like the rest of the country, Guizhou faces significant challenges in meeting the needs of its growing elderly population. They include low coverage of basic aged care services in rural and urban areas, lack of quality standards, shortage of skilled caregivers, and fragmentation of administrative, financing, and service delivery systems.
Following an elderly-centered approach, the program will achieve its objective through three interlinked result areas:
1. Expanding coverage of basic aged care services for the elderly.
2. Enhancing quality of aged care services for the elderly.
3. Strengthening efficiency of aged care financing for the elderly.
As a result, the elderly with limited functional ability facing vulnerable economic circumstances will gain access to a basic package of aged care services. Aged care workers and family caregivers will benefit through skills training, wage subsidies and financial support, as well as respite services. The elderly population at large will benefit from a growing aged care sector as they will have a wider range of aged care services and products to choose from.
“The program will support innovations in a sector that is new for China and the developing world. As a result, it should have a demonstration effect and lessons learned from this program will be useful to other provinces in China as well as for other aging countries in the region and beyond,” said Dewen Wang, World Bank Senior Social Protection Economist and project team leader. This program is the first World Bank-financed aged care PforR worldwide and second aged care project in China.