Poverty alleviation in China: Can Pakistan learn lessons from poverty alleviation strategies?

diplomacy pakistan

diplomacy pakistan

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” – Confucius

It is extensively acknowledged that poverty, inequality and growth are strongly intertwined and form a complex set of triangular relations. Among the most significant is the identification that growth can contribute to poverty reduction but only if the reimbursement of the growth can reach everyone in society. Exclusively, in the case of absolute poverty, it means only if growth can help those living below some nationally or internationally specified poverty line of income escape from such poverty, and embark on some self-sustaining process of self-development and self-realization.

Since the mid-1980s China has developed an extensive officialdom committed to poverty alleviation. The State Council authorized the Leading Group for the Economic Development of Poor Areas (LGEDPA) as the top anti-poverty decision-making body leading to synchronize anti-poverty programs at ministerial levels. During the last three decades, the achievements of China against poverty have fascinated the concentration of social scientists, economists, and international organizations to draw some lessons for developing countries to fight against poverty in their own settings. Over the last 30 years, China has undergone a profound economic transformation and lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty. This process has reshaped the global economy and changed the economic perception for nations and people all around the world.

On 16th October 2016, President Xi Jinping announced on China Central Television (CCTV) that he would eliminate poverty in China by 2020. Determinately, China has became the first middle income country to achieve the first Sustainable Development Goal of eradicate poverty with many pioneering and effectual practices in targeted poverty alleviation. In the course of realizing the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese Dream of revitalizing the nation, it is paying attention on safeguarding and civilizing people’s well-being, proliferating all social programs, and caring people’s rights to equal participation and development.

At the 2017 China Poverty Reduction International Forum in Beijing, the Chinese government launched the Global Poverty Reduction Online Knowledge Sharing Database. China’s Internet-based poverty alleviation technique has set an archetype for the rest of the world. As China continues to take a more vigorous role in poverty alleviation on the global stage, it is an ideal position to be a close collaborator with other developing countries and share the lessons it has learned from its own poverty reduction experience. The Chinese Government has been pushing forward its “Internet Plus” strategy in poverty reduction efforts. It has accelerated the government’s poverty reduction efforts in rural areas. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, more than 150,000 poverty-stricken families joined the e-business sector in 2016-17 and the government is planning to take e-business to more than 80% of villages by 2020.

  • China’s Poverty Eradication Achievements:

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with poverty reduction as its primary goal, demonstrated the confidence and determination of the international community in jointly eradicating poverty and achieving common development. As the world’s largest developing country, China has always attached great importance to poverty alleviation and development.

  • Over 700 million people reduced poverty according to China’s national poverty line.
  • The rural poverty-stricken population was reduced to 30.46 million by the end of 2017, with the poverty incidence dropping to 3.1%.
  • According to the 1.9 dollar poverty line, China lifted 850 million people out of poverty, with the percentage of people living in extreme poverty falling from 88% to 1.85%.
  • China has contributed to over 70% of the poverty reduced across the world, making itself a country with the most people lifted out of poverty in the world.
  • Providing 120,000 opportunities and 150,000 scholarships for citizens of developing countries to receive training and education in China.
  • Increasing investment in the developing countries to 12 billion dollars by 2030. Setting up the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation with an initial pledge of 2 billion dollar to support developing countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

[International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC)]

The nitty-gritty of Chinese success, in poverty reduction, are rooted in its firm political willpower and commanding organizational capability, which ensured macroeconomic stability and successful poverty alleviation policies at the macro level, and empowered the poor at the micro level. As Pakistan’s new government has formed, now there is a need to revive pro-poor policies beyond traditional ways to achieve objectives which must be in Pakistan’s best interest and that will benefit the poor people of the country. In Pakistan welfare plans will get a tremendous boost if it can learn lessons from China’s experiences and achievements in poverty alleviation through the Poor Rural Communities Development Project, the Southwest Poverty Reduction Project, the Qinba Mountains Poverty Reduction Project, the Gansu and Inner Mongolia Poverty Reduction Project, the Guangxi Rural Poverty Alleviation Pilot Project etc. It is important to note here, policies and programs have also been launched in Pakistan by previous governments, but they have not brought any real change in poverty, mainly due to poor governance and weak institutions, policy gaps, poor implementation and corruption, low public spending and nepotism, population pressure and internal conflicts.

In a nut shell, China’s best practice and successful experience in poverty reduction should be a “Role Model” for Pakistan where almost 75% of the poor are clustered around the poverty line. According to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform report, 39% of Pakistanis living in multidimensional poverty and 20% slightly above the poverty line. With a truly astonishing reputation, China is irrefutably a world-leader in poverty reduction and there is a lot the rest of the world can learn from its experience, including Pakistan.

About Mirza Abdul Aleem Baig 17 Articles
Mirza Abdul Aleem Baig is CAS-TWAS President’s Fellow at USTC, Biomedical Health Informatics Professional and freelance Science Writer.