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Following his visit to the IFAD supported SPEAR project in the earthquake area in Sichuan province - China, the President continued to Beijing to meet with the Vice Premier , Minister of Finance , various Vice Ministers and other high ranking Government officials, Chinese Poverty Reduction Experts and the UNCT. The long list of high level Chinese politicians mirrors the attention and appreciation of the Chinese government to the President and to IFAD.

Besides President Nwanze, IFAD was presented by Thomas Elhaut, Director of the Asia and Pacific Division, Thomas Rath, Country Program Manager , Sun Yinhong , Country Presence Officer and David Paqui , Communications Officer.

The absolute highlight was the meeting with Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on October 11. The Vice Premier appreciated the long standing cooperation with IFAD and its contribution to the poverty reduction in China and globally. The Vice Premier expressed China’s support to the President and to IFAD. He also assured that China will continue borrowing from and actively working on poverty reduction with IFAD in the near future.

Throughout the meetings, the GOC representatives stressed their interest in engaging in an intensive South-South cooperation with IFAD’s country programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The cooperation should follow a tripartite constellation including the recipient country, China and IFAD to warrant ownership and contribution of each partner. The cooperation would include knowledge sharing, joint financing, technical assistance, support to institutions building and pro-poor policy development. China and IFAD agreed also on setting up a financial facility in support of knowledge sharing.

IFAD plans to develop 2 large loans with China for the coming PBAS cycle (2010-2012), similar to other large IFAD country programs like India. The purpose of larger loans is (i) to deepen the poverty impact, (ii) to ease the scaling-up of projects, whilst (iii) reducing overhead costs and lastly (iv) increasing efficiency of IFAD operations.

During his meetings with Chinese government officials, IFAD President Nwanze stressed the importance of the China – IFAD cooperation, in view of the impact achieved with reportedly some 30 million people benefiting from 23 loan projects. He stressed the leading role of China for the developing world as China’s success is unparalleled and highlights the importance of a strong government commitment , institution building from grassroots to national levels, participation of local communities and lastly, conducive policy frameworks for poverty reduction . The example of China shows clearly the pivotal role of agriculture for poverty reduction and rural development. Nevertheless, the President stressed the need to continue investing in agriculture to meet the world’s challenges for the future of which the most important ones will include food security of a growing world population, shrinking natural resources especially water. These last issues are particularly overshadowed by the effects of the climate change.

The President met almost daily with media. An interview with China’s international TV channel will be aired on the World Food Day. The interview with NBC was posted on the NBC web on 13 October will be also included in a one hour NBC programme as the run off for the Copenhagen meeting. The other interviews held with international and Chinese media are expected to be published in due course.

President Nwanze left China on October 13, heading for the World Food Prize’s
Borlaug Dialogue, in Des Moines , USA.

(Posted by Thomas Rath, David Paqui, Sun Yinhong)