By Melody Mlilo
In 2020, China announced proudly to the world that it had managed to lift its people from poverty. This is a feat that is remarkable, and closes off 40 years of hard work, accelerated under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.
The eradication of poverty by China is a global first, which dovetails with the United Nations Agenda 2063. Among other things, United Nations Agenda 2063 sets out key priority areas such as, the elimination of poverty, inequality and hunger; attainment of a high standard of living, quality of life and well-being for all citizens and instituting of measures such as modern agriculture for increased productivity and production.
According to China, eliminating poverty is the common aspiration of all peoples and a shared mission of the international community. The primary goal of the 2030 Agenda is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”. And China has been helping other developing countries to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives, by providing assistance in the construction of rural public facilities, sharing experience in agricultural governance, and offering technology transfer.
This forms the basis of the authoritative policy direction contained in the document, China’s Development Cooperation in the New Era, which is part of the country’s 14th Five Year Plan. Noteworthy, President Xi is leading China to assert the country’s vision and contribute its strength to resolving global development issues and implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Zimbabwe could benefit from China’s projects that it has implemented worldwide, or look up to successful models in poverty alleviation and ensuring food security. China has been undertaking training and seminars both at the level of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and in sites across several countries to share ideas and actions in targeted poverty alleviation with other developing countries.
Zimbabwe should seek these trainings to ensure that it is up to date with requirements and capacity to move forward.
China has been assisting other developing countries in alleviating poverty in countries such as Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, China where pilot projects to promote village-by-village poverty reduction, improving local villages’ organizational ability, encouraging farmers to combine their efforts in agricultural activities, and cultivating a new vision for development to shake off poverty have been implemented.
China has been assisting some countries in improving their rural living environment and meeting local needs in transport, work and life. For example, it helped Mauritania to build a highway in its Hope Delta to support local agriculture and animal husbandry.
China has also provided training in handicrafts based on local conditions. In Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Lesotho, Rwanda and the Central African Republic, China launched pilot projects on Juncao planting techniques, to help rural households to increase their incomes. In Liberia and Ethiopia, China imparted bamboo weaving techniques, encouraging farmers to tap local bamboo resources and start furniture businesses as a new source of income. China considers special groups as the most deserving recipients of poverty alleviation. China has been supporting other developing countries in formulating policies concerning people with disabilities, improving rehabilitation services for them, and enabling them to share the fruits of social development.
Agriculture is the foundation of economic growth and social stability in developing countries in the Third World. China is assisting developing countries to leverage their own strengths to accelerate agricultural progress and ensure food self-sufficiency and food security. This is achieved in part through improving agricultural productivity. According to China, by the end of 2019, the country had dispatched 81 agro-technology teams composed of 808 experts to 37 Asian and African countries; China had assisted African countries in setting up 22 agro-technology pilot centers to promote high-yield crop varieties, helping farmers increase productivity and boost their confidence in development.
In the Western African nation of Chad, for example, China launched assistance projects to upgrade their irrigation systems, and offered agricultural machinery and supplies to ease local shortages. In other African countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, China provided timely aid during locust plagues to help restore agricultural production. China has also established the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre for scientific cooperation in agriculture. It has sent agricultural specialists overseas to offer technical training programmes on raising rice yields in Côte d’Ivoire, upgrading aquaculture in Zanzibar, Tanzania, while providing technological support and services for agricultural development in Africa, China initiated under a “10+10” cooperation mechanism between Chinese and African agricultural research institutes for the joint development of new crop varieties, technologies, and equipment suited to the African continent.
Tied to this, China is helping Africa develop agro-industrial chains. It established an agro-product preliminary processing center in Cape Verde, a corn flour production plant in Zambia. Elsewhere, this thrust has seen the erection of grain processing and storage facilities in East Timor, to improve their capacity to process and store agro-products, reduce post-production waste, and increase the added value of agro-products and farmers’ income.
In Tonga and Samoa, China promoted biogas technology and pig-biogas-vegetable circular agro-technology, and used agro-technology pilot centers to demonstrate how to develop a full industrial chain from production, storage, processing to marketing, share comprehensive agro-management experience, and support circular agriculture and sustainable production.
The whole thrust requires developing countries to learn from China. As such, China has organized training programmes and co-hosted seminars with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, to share ideas and actions in targeted poverty alleviation with other developing countries.