Lessons from China’s success on war against poverty
CHINA achieved remarkable victory in fighting against poverty with the stronger resolve and set a record of “largest poverty alleviation campaign in history”.
Now with zero poverty, China is embarking on a new journey towards a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The government increased funding for poverty reduction, both on national and local levels.
Financial institutions enhanced contributions to increase loans and provide assistance to local projects.
By creating strict benchmarks and targets for local institutions, the government created a means of measuring goals and ensuring wise investment.
The clearly defined goals included investing in food security, education, health and housing, especially in rural areas.
Providing easily accessible public services was also a useful way to achieve economic equality.
By registering the poor on a national database, the government was able to effectively monitor and implement domestic strategies.
This registration system also allowed for a more targeted approach. Loans, subsidies and higher wages were economic means by adopting whom China created opportunities for local businesses and self-employed individuals. Larger enterprises were also encouraged to invest in smaller businesses and development projects.
There are number of lessons which other countries can learn and adopt for making their poverty-reduction projects very successful, as stated by Dr. Alessandra Cappelletti, Associate Professor at the Department of International Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.
One of the keys to achievement for China’s plan was the strong political determination and making it a priority.
Amid COVID-19, China has accomplished its tasks for winning the battle against poverty and met the UN’s poverty alleviation goal 10 years ahead of schedule.
Once a county was lifted out of poverty, it would have been easy for officials to sit back and congratulate themselves for a job well done.
However, says Dr. Cappelletti: “Chinese policymakers think every solution generates 10 more tribulations. This is from the ‘relational’ worldview, which sees complexity in everything.”
One of these new problems is maintaining wealth. “One strategy is to help farmers develop their own businesses. In a village in Sichuan, China Agricultural University in Beijing aided farmers to restore their houses and rent out rooms to tourists,” she said.
Over the years, Cappelletti explains, China has shifted its economic focus: “There was a push to upgrade the Chinese economic system from one based on cheap labour and dependent on coal, to an innovative technology-led model.
” The country also prioritised boosting the domestic market and reducing reliance on exporting.
An indirect way to stimulate the local economy is to increase investment into education and healthcare, she explains, because when these services are more affordable to ordinary citizens, there’s more disposable income.
—The writer is Director Special Reports in Pakistan Observer.