China's success in poverty eradication an inspiration in Africa: experts
Xinhua, October 12, 2016 Adjust font size:
The phenomenal strides China has made in poverty alleviation in the last four decades offers inspiration to African countries grappling with similar challenge, Kenyan experts have said.
During an interview with Xinhua recently ahead of China's Poverty-Relief Day on Oct. 17, senior Kenyan officials and experts agreed that the Asian giant offers vital lessons on wealth creation.
Professor Micheni Ntiba, the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Fisheries and Blue Economy hailed Beijing's stellar performance in poverty alleviation thanks to embrace of free markets without abandoning socialist ideals.
"The poverty levels in rural China for instance were too high in the 70s and at some point, civilians had to contend with hunger and malnutrition. Embrace of market economy has nevertheless unleashed record prosperity in both rural and urban China," said Ntiba.
He noted that agricultural mechanization that accelerated three decades ago enabled China to feed its population and export surplus to neighboring countries and beyond.
Kenya has been dispatching senior officials to China to learn how the Asian giant achieved economic progress in a record time.
Ntiba said Kenya is keen to emulate China's success story in agricultural transformation, manufacturing and infrastructure development to realize growth.
"It is evident that China harnessed the power of technology, innovations and unwavering patriotism to chart its own development path. It is possible to achieve such a feat locally by emulating China which happens to be our close ally in many areas," Ntiba told Xinhua.
China's journey from a past marked with poverty to become the world's second largest economy is an inspiration to African countries experiencing similar challenges.
The acting CEO of New Partnership for Africa Development Kenya, Daniel Osiemo said that China's good performance in poverty alleviation offers vital lessons to African states struggling to provide basic necessities to their citizens.
"China presents shining example of a transition from poverty to economic development. In 1966, the country could not even feed its people properly," Osiemo said.
He noted that China has relied on the ingenuity of local population, technology, innovations and focused leadership to propel economic growth.
"The Chinese society has sustained a work ethic that integrates discipline, timeliness and team spirit hence the profound economic success," said Osiemo.
He noted that mass literacy, embrace of modern technology and political stability has enabled China to address its domestic challenges like poverty, disease and environmental hazards without disruptions.
"Both the Chinese leaders and citizens were able to recognize their challenges and devise sound methods of addressing them without relying on external help. That is what this continent requires," Osiemo told Xinhua.
Kenyan scholars too agreed that China is an exemplar when it comes to poverty alleviation.
Bethwel Kinuthia, an economist at the University of Nairobi hailed China's determination to eradicate extreme poverty that still blights African countries.
"Before China embraced market economy fully, there were pockets of success in poverty alleviation largely driven by agricultural mechanization and light manufacturing in rural provinces," said Kinuthia.
He noted that both economic and political reforms in China were behind the prosperity. "A China that opened itself to the world in terms of trade, investments and cultural interaction realized phenomenal economic progress whose impacts are felt everywhere and more so in Africa," Kinuthia said.
He noted the current economic progress in many African countries is linked to Chinese investments in critical sectors like infrastructure, energy and manufacturing.
"In Kenya, China has catalyzed our economic transformation through massive investments in modern transport infrastructure and clean energy," said Kinuthia.
He singled out the China funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that will unleash new prosperity in Kenya and the eastern African region upon completion in June 2017.
Teresiah Kahumbu, an employee of China Road and Bride Corporation that is constructing the modern railway spoke glowingly of her changed fortunes in the last two years she has worked in the mega infrastructure project.
"The SGR project enabled me to secure a job after college... I have gained exposure and knowledge that will be useful in future," said Kahumbu.