Commentary: China, Africa in concert on poverty reduction for common development
The two-day China-Africa high-level dialogue and think tank forum on poverty reduction and common development started on Wednesday at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, during which nearly 300 Chinese and African guests discussed poverty elimination for shared development.
A special mission carried by the forum is to exchange experience, align cooperation ideas and contribute suggestions for Africa’s poverty reduction endeavor.
Up and Out of Poverty, a book published by Chinese President Xi Jinping, was published in English and French at the end of last year. The book, which recorded Xi’s ideas and practice on lifting Ningde, an impoverished county in southeastern China’s Fujian province, out of poverty when he worked there, was echoed by officials and scholars of African countries.
The success story of Ningde, also representative evidence of China’s path to wipe out poverty, can work as a reference for the African continent which still has 400 million living in poverty.
“I recommend each leader and government official to read this book,” Barbara Kaiga, chief editor of Uganda New vision said after reading the book.
The success story of China can draw so much attention because the country has found a way in the past four decades to lift over 700 million residents out of poverty. This is also a miracle of development for the whole world.
China has managed to increase its GDP per capita to over $8,000 today from less than $200 when it started to launch the reform and opening-up policy.
China is also the first developing country to have met the targets on poverty elimination set by the UN in its Millennium Development Goals as the number of Chinese people lifted out of poverty over the past years accounted for 70 percent of the world’s total.
The great deal of attention paid to the Chinese story can also be attributed to its innovative targeted poverty alleviation policies and commitment to pull the entire impoverished population out of poverty by 2020. What China did is not only pioneering ideas and practice, but also a new contribution to human progress.
China’s tailored policies and unprecedented measures on poverty alleviation also cement Africa’s confidence.
“China has proved to the world that we can change our status and turn a poor nation into a prosperous one,” said Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno.
“Facts have proven that China’s targeted poverty alleviation policy is efficient and excellent, and other countries, especially the African ones, should learn from China,” hailed Godlove Bainkong, Editorialist of Cameroon Tribune, Cameroon’s state-owned daily newspaper.
As a witness of China’s accomplishments to wipe out poverty, Bainkong has set foot in 36 cities in more than 10 Chinese provinces.
Africa can draw valuable experience from China’s development model since they share a number of similarities, said Kenneth Tanyi, Secretary General of the AU Commission office, citing the enormous population and vast market as examples. Both markets, according to him, started their development from the primary processing industry.
China, while pursuing its own growth, also lent a helping hand to Africa in the past decade, and also contributed a lot to the latter’s poverty reduction course.
In the new era, China follows the principle of “sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith” as well as the viewpoint of righteousness and benefit when dealing with its ties with Africa.
A total of 10 major plans to boost cooperation between China and Africa were rolled out during the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in December 2015 in Johannesburg of South Africa.
China also announced $60 billion of funding support to ensure smooth implementation of the initiatives. It not only upgrades China-Africa collaboration to a new high, but will also address the bottlenecks restraining Africa’s efforts to alleviate poverty.
The China-Africa cooperation projects, including roads, bridges, economic and trade cooperation zones as well as demonstration centers for agricultural technologies, have helped Africa improve its capability to seek self-driven growth and thus delivered inexhaustible energy to Africa’s poverty reduction.
Thousands of African citizens have marched towards prosperity after finding jobs and learning skills at Chinese companies.
The China-built railway stretching from the port of Mombasa to Kenya’s capital Nairobi, for instance, trained over 40,000 engineering workers and created 38,000 jobs in local communities.
The Mombasa-Nairobi railway changed transportation between the two cities in a fundamental way, and paved a corridor linking the on-route cities with the outside world, said Hodan Osman Abdi, researcher with Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University.
The railway can play a vital role in lifting en-route regions out of poverty since their flow of information, commodities and personnel will be facilitated, he added.
The dividends released by China-Africa cooperation, which benefit Africa’s drive to shake off poverty, have been recognized by Africa and the international community. China and Africa, as a community of shared destiny, will always move ahead shoulder to shoulder to eliminate poverty.
(By Wu Qimin, Pei Guangjiang, Hu Zexi, Ji Peijuan, Li Zhiwei, Wang Yunsong from People’s Daily)