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China's experience on reducing poverty opens new chapter in Sino-Africa cooperation
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08:38, June 10, 2009

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Chinese trade officials, representatives from international organizations and African diplomats have recently gathered at a seminar in Beijing to share China's experiences on poverty reduction.

Huang Chengwei, vice president of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC), voiced China's willingness to share its experience on poverty reduction with Africa at the seminar last week.

The seminar was co-organized by the IPRCC and British Institute of Development Studies.

African oil and mine production has declined by more than 50 percent since last year and the prices of many important African exports such as cocoa, cotton and woods have slumped between 25 percent to 30 percent.

The World Bank forecast that foreign investment to developing countries would exceed 165 million U.S. dollars in 2009 compared with the 929 million U.S. dollars invested in 2007.

After having cut the poverty-striken population by 17 million in seven years since 2000, China has "promoted active South-South cooperation in all fields, especially China-Africa cooperation which helps poverty reduction in Africa," Huang said.


In the 1980s, China changed its poverty reduction policy from simple relief through goods and cash, the so-called "blood transfusion" policy, to development-oriented relief.

The development-oriented poverty relief focuses on enhancing skills and capacities of the poor so they can find work, said Zhou Xiaojing, head of the Asia-Africa Development Research Institute of the State Council, the country's cabinet.

China is trying to introduce the method of "teaching a man how to fish" into the cooperation with Africa, Zhou said.

She pointed out that China expands its assistance and investments through increased employment for Africans, improving their earnings and living conditions.

Wu Qijin, head of the Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) expounded China's assistance to Africa and the bilateral cooperation at the seminar.

Wu elaborated on four main points in Sino-Africa cooperation, including improving Africa's infrastructure for better goods and personnel circulation, promoting education and health services in Africa, developing agriculture for food security and exploiting African resources.

China Eximbank has actively participated in financing development of agriculture, education, public transportation and telecommunications in Angola. It also has development projects in Sudan.


Despite the impact of the global economic crisis, trade between China and Africa remain steady, said Adrian Davis, who is responsible for the Northeast Asia region at the Department for International Development, a British government department.

Data from China's Commerce Ministry showed trade between China and Africa rose to 108 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

That nearly doubled the volume of the 55 billion dollars in 2006, when the Beijing Summit on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held.

Nearly half of the African countries have expanded their exports to China by over 50 percent since the first Beijing summit three years ago.

"It will be important for African and Chinese leaders to keep focused on those countries that have yet to really capitalize on export opportunities to China," Davis said.

Malcomson Dave, South Africa's ambassador to China, expressed his hope China would continue its expansion in assistance and investment to Africa and contribute to the New Partnership for Africa's Development, an economic development program of the African Union.


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