NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 4 – For the past 30 years the Chinese government has enabled more than 800 million citizens out of poverty.
This has been achieved by concerted efforts from both central and local governments working closely with the private sector.
Poverty reduction in the world’s most populous country has been achieved through an industry-based economy, social security, education, health among others.
Dr Xu Liping an associate professor at the International Poverty Reduction Centre in China says agriculture has played an important role in poverty eradication with major crops including corn, rice and wheat.
Poverty alleviation in China begins with an elaborate process to identify the poor – usually at the village level. Pertinent data including possible causes of poverty, production and living conditions of the locals is then generated.
“This information is very important because it assists in planning anti-poverty measures and ensure funds are used for the right purpose,” said Xu.
After the poor are accurately identified, work teams are sent to the villages to analyse their demands, make development plans and coordinate assistant resources.
With tangible plans, the private sector is encouraged to invest in the rural economies. For instance, in Quingchi County’s Taizi village, Bouyu Agricultural Forestry and Husbandry Company leased land from the government for makino trees farming.
The local farmers are then engaged in the production of the commodities; earning themselves decent wages while gaining technological knowledge. When the fruits ripen the company collects them and pays farmers additional income.
The practice of revitalising rural agriculture has seen millions of Chinese get productive engagement in the countryside hence avoiding migration to big cities like Beijing, a practice that is still rampant in many developing economies like Kenya.
Agriculture, however, is not the only avenue of poverty eradication in China. E-commerce has equally been tapped to improve livelihoods.
Weinan City – one of the poorest areas in Gansu Province – was used as the first national pilot for e-commerce poverty alleviation in 2015.
In 2016 there were more than 10,000 online stores which sold 6.4 billion Yuan of agricultural products and 7.18 million people achieved employment.
The Chinese Government has also been able to build decent houses for the impoverished people.
“In 2012-2015 the Central Government of China allocated RMB 40.4 billion, resettling 5.91 million impoverished people. Local governments provided RMB 38 billion, resettled 5.8 million people,” said Xu of the China International Poverty reduction Centre.
The ambitious Chinese Government war on poverty is to end extreme poverty by 2020.
According to World Bank survey 2018, the proportion of Kenyans living on less than the international poverty line has declined from 46 per cent in 200/6 to 36.1 per cent in 2015/16.
Poverty incidence in Kenya is among the lowest in East Africa and is lower than the sub-Saharan African regional average.
However, the report notes that poverty rates in Kenya remain relatively high compared to other lower middle-income countries.
This means Kenya can win the war on extreme poverty if the right strategies are put in place by both the National and County Governments considering the fact that Kenya’s population is approximately 50 million as compared to China’s 1.3 billion.