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China’s achievements in poverty alleviation even more remarkable than its economic growth: economist

(People's Daily Online)    17:11, February 12, 2018

China’s achievements in poverty alleviation are even more remarkable than its economic growth, says Wan Guanghua, principal economist at the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department and Institute of World Economy at Fudan University.

World Bank statistics show that since the reform and opening up policy started, China has seen a dramatic decrease in poverty stricken population. Its poverty incidence dropped to 1.9 percent in 2013 from 88.3 percent in 1981.

China’s achievements in poverty alleviation is even more remarkable than its economic growth, as it contributed 20-30 percent to world economic growth, and as much as 70 percent to the world’s cause of poverty reduction, according to the International Poverty Reduction Center in China.

It is reasonable that China’s success in poverty reduction is usually attributed to its rapid economic development in the past three decades, as without economic growth, Chinese people’s poverty situation cannot be alleviated, said Wan.

However, Wan stressed that economic growth is not the main cause. Many countries fail to alleviate poverty while the countries see growth in their economy. The key lies in whether the poor people benefit from the growth.

China’s poor people benefit a lot from the country’s economic growth due to strong support from the Chinese government, active promotion of industrialization and urbanization, as well as great importance attached to infrastructure establishment in poor areas, Wan noted.

He disclosed that the Chinese government set up China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation to help poor areas and families shake off poverty and solve the problem of income distribution.

In addition, China made efforts to attract rural people to urban areas, so that they can benefit more from China’s economic growth. There are now more than 270 million rural migrant workers in cities. Their income occupies a large number of rural people’s total income. Without industrialization and urbanization, China’s poverty problem would be much more serious, said Wan.

Also, China has invested a lot in building infrastructure in poor areas, such as roads, communication, and electricity facilities, which effectively narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, according to Wan.

The economist noted that China’s practices and experiences in poverty alleviation can be studied by other countries.

He added that with development of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation, China will continue to pass on its valuable experience in poverty reduction to other countries, help other developing countries to strengthen their infrastructure, advance industrialization, and contribute more to the international cause of poverty alleviation.

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