Waiting for Micro Miracles – China

July 1998
With the help of a micro-credit finance scheme China set itself the target of eliminating rural poverty by the year 2000.

It is estimated that 60 million people living in rural and remote areas od China eke out a subsistence existence on a meagre a year. How best to improve their lot though is a matter for debate. AusAid battle it out with the Government. They offer loans of only – an amount they believe will encourage constructive investment in the future. Perhaps a tractor or some fertiliser to increase production. The regional government is in a hurry though and are dishing-out loans of 0 with lower interest and longer pay back time. Not surprisingly these loans are a big hit, it’s a chance to buy a few luxuries too. Yet no-one’s celebrating so far in Banyalong. With still no cash economy to speak of and in a region renowned for it’s poor soil and harsh frosts, the capital injection is not reaping sustainable rewards quite yet. Many have simply immersed themselves in loans they cannot pay back. While the micro-credit advocates claim their scheme is the path to sustainable wealth, others denounce it as a quick fix. Will this be Banyalong’s salvation or ruin?

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures