Optimizing aid program
Since 2006, MOA’S Center of International Cooperation Service (CICOS) has been engaged in the selection and management of agricultural experts to foreign countries. Up to now, a total of 189 agricultural experts in 43 groups have been sent to 34 African countries, while 184 Chinese vocational teachers in 11 groups have been sent to Africa to work on the joint ATVET program.
“Most candidates are recommended by institutions under MOA, research institutes and the provincial agricultural authorities, and they have to go through oral English tests and interviews before they are selected,” Wang Jing, Communication Division Director at the CICOS told
The year 2015 saw the launch of the program of one Chinese province being paired with one African country. The aim is to make the agricultural assistance program more targeted, consistent and effective, said Wang. Last year, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique were partnered with Sichuan, Anhui and Hubei provinces respectively, and now the projects are progressing well.
As a big agricultural province, southwest China’s Sichuan has actively participated in the agricultural assistance project in Africa. From 2008-16, 23 agricultural experts from that province were dispatched to 11 African countries. However, in recent years, the province has also encountered a bottleneck in the selection of experts.
“The criteria of selecting experts are high in terms of professional competence and language. Young professionals who are willing to participate often cannot meet the high requirements. Thus, the experts that can go to Africa are almost [all] in their late 40s, and there are few young experts under 40 joining the assistance program,” Liu Xin, Deputy Director of the Agricultural Aid Office of Sichuan Province told Chinafrica.