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How China beat poverty to improve the plight of 800m citizens

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China has contributed to over 75 percent of the poverty reduction across the world, making itself a country with the most people lifted out of poverty. What is going on in a country that is 9,000km away shows how Nigeria can achieve an ambitious goal of lifting 100 million people out of poverty within a decade.

Nigeria is home to huge oil and gas resources, whose exports account for more than half of government’s revenue, yet the country has at least 133 million people living in poverty.

“Over half of the population of Nigeria are multidimensionally poor and cook with dung, wood or charcoal, rather than clean energy. High deprivations also appeared nationally in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity, and housing,” the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in its latest report.

To change the narration, BusinessDay evaluates how China, the most populous country in the world, evolved its economy and showed how it was possible to reduce poverty drastically by lifting more than half of its population out of poverty.

Over four decades, China lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty, accounting for more than 75 percent of global poverty reduction in the same period, a World Bank statement showed.

This achievement, according to World Bank, was reported in a joint study tagged ‘Four Decades of Poverty Reduction in China: Drivers, Insights for the World, and the Way Ahead’, and undertaken by China’s Ministry of Finance, the Development Research Centre of the State Council, and the World Bank, with the China Centre for International Knowledge on Development acting as the implementing agency.

According to the World Bank, two main factors that contributed to poverty alleviation in China were a broad-based economic transformation, which provided new development opportunities for the poor and continuously raised their incomes, and the other was the targeted policies of the government to eliminate long-term poverty in areas that had been mired in poverty due to their locations and other factors.

“The targeted poverty alleviation strategy was of great significance for eliminating absolute poverty – the World Bank’s global absolute poverty standard of $1.90 per person per day, and to illustrate the role of broad-based economic transformation in poverty alleviation, separate sections of the report analyse growing agricultural productivity, incremental industrialization, managed urbanization and rural-to-urban migration, and the role of infrastructure,” World Bank said.

Read also: China has built 100 seaports in Africa – ambassador

According to World Bank, the report also highlights how the success of China’s economic development and the associated reduction of poverty benefitted from effective governance, which helped coordinate multiple government agencies and elicit cooperation from non-government stakeholders, alongside the need to close remaining gaps in quality education between rural and urban areas, provide better social protection to migrant workers, and the scope for improved integration of the various existing social security policies.

Lessons for other countries from China’s experience, according to the World Bank, include the importance of a focus on education, an outward orientation, sustained public investments in infrastructure, and structural policies supportive of competition.

Minister Ma Jiantang, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group of the DRC, said: “For China to sustain poverty reduction gains, it will focus more on achieving endogenous development in areas that have been lifted out of poverty and introduce vigorous measures to support rural revitalisation.

“The goal is to achieve common prosperity and high-quality development including through the rural revitalisation strategy with a focus on five key areas: industry development, human capital, culture, ecological environment, and local governance.”

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