China’s experience boosts Africa’s sustainable devt

In spite of abundant resources, a large population and a vast market, Africa is still the world’s least developed continent, beset by continuous poverty and hunger.

   Sharing a similar underdeveloped past with Africa, China achieved its ambitious goal of eliminating extreme poverty in 2020, improving the living standards of hundreds of millions of people through decades of development.

   Experts said China’s conspicuous success in alleviating poverty could be of valuable guidance for Africa in its fight against poverty and pursuit of sustainable development.

   In sub-Saharan Africa, most people live on less than 1.9 U.S. dollars a day, the World Bank’s extreme-poverty benchmark.

   According to the United Nations (UN), because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to see serious deterioration, with an additional 26 million people living below the international poverty line.

   Cavince Adhere, a Kenyan international relations expert, said that China’s success in alleviating rural poverty through leveraging technology-led farming methods is an inspiration to Kenya and other developing countries.

   “Contrary to many countries where development is often associated with investments in cities and other urban centres, China prioritised rural areas in its poverty reduction efforts where agriculture played a major role,” Adhere said in a recent commentary.

 He said that China has become the first developing country to achieve the first of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), adding that modern farming has hastened the realisation of that feat.

   “China’s efforts offer good insights for Kenya’s socio-economic transformation,” he said.

   Paul Zilungisele Tembe, a researcher at the University of South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, said China’s experience is a model to the world about what is possible when there is decisive leadership, uninterrupted legal and policy continuity, bottom-up people’s empowerment, solid intergovernmental relations and private sector partnerships, and leveraging contextual circumstances, including geography, politics, technology.

   All these factors have coalesced and translated into “poverty eradication with Chinese characteristics,” said the expert, adding that “it is not inconceivable for South Africa to replicate the Chinese model of ending poverty in all its forms.”

 “Give people fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.” This is an old Chinese saying which best captures the essence of China’s assistance to African countries. -Xinhua

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