MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $50 million loan to help transform the local economy of Baise, Guangxi, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), by creating a new multilevel system of technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Baise—one of 14 national poverty areas of the PRC—is being promoted by the government as a new economic base, focusing on four priority industries—aluminum processing, agriculture, tourism, and regional trade and logistics. Its proximity to the border with Viet Nam also leaves it well placed to function as a regional link.

“Although increased investment in Baise has led to high growth, the municipality’s economic development is held back by a lack of skilled workers, particularly in the rapidly expanding priority industries,” said Wendy Walker, an ADB Principal Social Development Specialist. “An integrated system of vocational training and education will provide the local people—most of whom are from ethnic minorities—with access to a rapidly changing economy and help drive the economic development and industrial transformation of the municipality.”

Baise Municipal Government has calculated that more than 80,000 skilled workers are needed in a location that has trouble attracting or retaining its workforce. To address this, Baise’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan includes a strategy that will link academic education and TVET.

In line with this, the project will develop a multilevel system to link vocational secondary, college, and undergraduate levels of TVET, as well as boosting teacher skills. It will support development of a TVET teacher training center and construction of a new campus, including teaching and residential buildings, roads, and other school facilities. The project will also support school-industry partnerships and project management.

The total cost of the project, which is due for completion in December 2019, is $103.54 million, of which Baise Municipal Government will provide $40.64 million and a domestic bank $12.90 million.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.

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