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IN THE FIELD


approvals to China (cumulatively over US$317 million) have supported the country’s educational and health sectors. In particular, resources have been dedicated to two of the Chinese government’s priority areas: infrastructure for tertiary level vocational education and health care centers for the elderly.


Given that China faces a declining labor force and an increasingly aging population, tertiary education and elderly care are important enablers of socio-economic growth. On the education front, China’s economy has begun to shift toward more skill-intensive products and technologies, increasing the demand for highly-skilled workers. A recent Chinese State Council report shows ambitious reform proposals including plans to support an additional 15 million people to upgrade their skills, and reframing vocational education as a viable alternative to an academic degree. China’s focus on elderly care is driven by expectations that come 2050, more than one- third of the country’s population will be aged 60 or over, meaning China will need to care for an estimated 402 million 60-plus year-olds by 2040. The OPEC Fund’s first loan to China in 2007 was in support of the Yunnan Vocational Educational Project. With a US$16 million loan, this project helped to expand four vocational education colleges across Kunming City, almost tripling the number of students in the area from 13,000 to 33,500.


of the OPEC Fund’s approvals to China (cumulatively over US$317 million) have


90% Almost


supported the country’s educational and health sectors


The OPEC Fund is co-financing an expansion of the Wenshan University (top); one of the colleges supported by the OPEC Fund in cooperation with the Saudi Fund for Development (above).


15


PHOTO: PMU


PHOTO: OPEC Fund/Jaafar Al-Mahdi


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