China is set to mark 100 years since Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed. CCP has been central in aiding China to transition from back waters of development to occupy the world’s second-largest economy slot as well as the first developing country to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on poverty eradication.
China has also consolidated indelible footprints on technological advancements in military power, artificial intelligence, medical research, e-commerce and infrastructure development, among others. It is therefore little wonder that the Chinese development miracle under the leadership of the CCP has provided a learning point for other societies as evidenced by many exchanges with political parties from other countries, particularly in the global south.
Despite China’s massive and multiethnic population, the CCP has managed to preserve the unity and harmony of the people, with approval ratings above the 90% mark. Some of the enviable attributes that have endeared the party to the people include effective political and economic planning with clear targets and accompanying timelines. This has also facilitated resource mobilization, deployment and evaluation.
Taking the cue from its revolution ridden past, the CCP has fashioned participatory form of governance in which people centered policies arise from carefully designed and piloted development concepts. From special economic zones, agricultural demonstrations, to artificial intelligence and 5G deployments, piloting has been a key process in China’s policy making and innovation value chain.
While CCP has had such enviable success in managing the affairs of China, the coming decades will present new opportunities and challenges to the staying power and vitality of the party. As China becomes more powerful, there will be additional pressure to deliver better quality of life for the citizens. It means keeping the trajectory of socio-economic transformation – not just completely climbing out of the poverty curve, but also ensuring that the widening inequality is reduced towards a more inclusive growth.
Externally, China’s rise has been received differently, in various parts of the world. Some countries see China as a strategic and systemic rival; one that is out to eat their power pie in the realm of international relations. On the other hand, there are countries, mostly in the developing south, which holds China’s rise both as opportunity and inspiration of their own socio-economic transformation. The CCP should find sustainable ways of managing these expectations and viewpoints, much like it has done over the decades.
Due to its policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, mutuality and equality, China has managed to stay away from many international conflicts, setting it aside from other great powers. Equally, by prioritizing the idea of peaceful development, multilateralism and shared prosperity for mankind, the CCP has won much admiration from many quarters. Through the Belt and Road Initiative China is sharing the proceeds of its development with the rest of the world on five pillars namely infrastructure connectivity, policy coordination, financial inclusion, trade and people to people exchanges. BRI is just one of the many avenues through which China is nudging the international community to reimagine international cooperation where peace and development takes precedent over confrontation and nationalism.
Although China was also a victim of external aggression and colonialism, under the leadership of the CCP, Beijing has demonstrated that it is possible to chalk own path to greatness. African societies must not necessarily follow the China model, but the Asian economic behemoth offers governance innovations that could easily unlock the potential of the continent.
The writer is a scholar of international relations with a focus on China-Africa relations. Twitter: @Cavinceworld.