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Written by IFAD's South-South and Triangular Cooperation team

An IFAD delegation traveled to China in September 2016 to participate in a series of events around the relationship between China and Africa within the development agricultural sector. Specifically the delegation had the opportunity to: share experiences and resources on rural development through a South-South Cooperation exchange offered by the Government of China for officials from African countries; participate in field visits in the Jiangsu province featuring rural and agricultural innovations; and attend the “Investing in Africa” Forum in Guangzhou on September 7-8, 2016, hosted by World Bank Group, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the China Development Bank.

During the two-day conference on South-South Cooperation exchanges, IFAD presented its concrete examples of South-South and Triangular Cooperation activities, in particular some African cases, highlighting the partnership between the Government of China and IFAD.

Among the various session, of particular interest was the one on Africa’s demands in agricultural development which highlighted Africa’s interest in learning from the Chinese experience in sustainable development. The dialogue between Chinese investors, multilateral development finance institutions and African officials was facilitated by the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center in the Ministry of Agriculture and the World Bank.

The “Investing in Africa” Forum aimed at bringing together stakeholders to discuss effective approaches, policies and partnerships for supporting Africa’s economic development. IFAD was represented by Lead Economist Rui Benfica, who, during the “Boosting Agricultural Productivity and Expanding Agribusiness Opportunities” segment, facilitated a discussion on the future of agriculture and agribusiness development in Africa and the potential role that China can play.

The IFAD delegation also participated in the inaugural annual meeting of the “Investing in Africa” Think Tank Alliance, where IFAD was invited to provide its contribution as a member of its Advisory Board.

The field visits in Juangsu Province involved examples of innovative agricultural projects in peri-urban area of Nanjing supported by local, regional, provincial and central government bodies. Throughout these trips, African delegates were exposed to innovative Chinese solutions to rural development which included:

  • The creation and management of an agro-tourism “slow food” city (GaoChun);
  • The production and management of organic tea;
  • High-yielding rice cultivation techniques displayed in HeFeng Town;
  • Introduction to Chinese agriculture technology manufacturers located in Nanjing.

The overall outcome of the mission to China is that IFAD is well positioned to play a strong role in similar exchange events in the future, for instance by providing additional support and strengthening the pool of participants, which could be drawn from IFAD’s network of governmental, private sector and project staff, as well as by potentially hosting the next South-South Cooperation exchange in collaboration with China.

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