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Business & Finance

What lessons can the world learn from China's War on Poverty?

  • Dr. Alessandra Cappelletti an associate professor in the Department of International Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Liverpool University says there are some reasons why this project is so successful.
02 Mar 2021

China formally pledged to lift the remaining 832 counties out of extreme poverty by the end of 2020. This target was reached last November.

Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed the victory as a "complete victory" at a ceremony in Beijing to honor key participants in the project.

Dr. Alessandra Cappelletti an associate professor in the Department of International Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Liverpool University says there are some reasons why this project is so successful.

And she thinks there are many more lessons that other countries can learn.

Lesson 1: Setting Your Priority

Dr. Capletti says one of the keys to the success of China's plan was its strong political will. "From a bureaucratic point of view, the government mobilized the whole machine."

Things were on track to reach the deadline, but earlier this year, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a worldwide economic slowdown.

However, instead of halting the program, the Chinese central government immediately instructed local officials to continue working on the targets. "When the central government commits to a set goal, it really becomes a must," says Dr. Capletti.

Lesson 2: Thinking about the future

Once a country is lifted out of poverty, it becomes easier for government officials to sit back and take pride in their work.

However, that is not the case in China, as Dr. Capletti said that "Chinese policymakers believe that each success creates 10 more problems. This is due to the 'relative' universal theory, which sees complexity in every issue."

One of the new issues is maintaining wealth. "One strategy is to help farmers grow their businesses," she said. The Chinese Agricultural University in Beijing helped farmers renovate their homes and rent rooms to tourists in a village in Sichuan.

Lesson 3: Monitoring Internal Conditions

Explaining that over the years, China has changed its economic focus she said, "China's economic system has moved from a cheap labor and a reliance on coal to a model led by modern technology… The country has also given priority to promoting the local market and reducing dependence on exports.”

An indirect way to stimulate the local economy is to increase investment in education and healthcare, because when these services are more affordable to ordinary citizens, they generate more net income, she explained. ۔

"Of course, there are still some issues. But don't be optimistic, it's difficult," she said.

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