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Way forward on poverty alleviation expected from “Two Sessions”: Zambian Ambassador

(People's Daily Online)    14:05, May 24, 2020

Winnie N. Chibesakunda, Zambian Ambassador to China (Photo provided by Zambian Embassy in China)

Learning from China’s successes in poverty alleviation cannot be overemphasized, said Zambian Ambassador to China Winnie N. Chibesakunda. In a recent written interview with People’s Daily Online, Chibesakunda expressed high hopes of hearing about China’s experiences in its fight against coronavirus as well as poverty alleviation, and said she was looking forward to enhanced bilateral cooperation in the future.

Noting that this year’s “Two Sessions” are special in that the meetings are being held in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the ambassador expressed her interest in the Chinese government’s efforts regarding public health mitigating strategies on the pandemic, “which the rest of the world could emulate in their efforts to protect people’s lives and safety”, such as how China implemented its lockdown, social distancing and efforts directed at preventing a second wave of the virus.

Since 2020 is an important year in China’s journey to achieve its Two Centenary Goals, the ambassador also expected to hear policies which would guide China’s future development in realizing socialist modernization.

Other issues of interest would concern China’s opening up strategy, implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, poverty alleviation, diplomacy, as well as party governance, she said.

This is a decisive year for China to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and to end extreme poverty. Chibesakunda reviewed China’s “unprecedented” economic and social development over the past four decades, citing China’s redoubling of its efforts in poverty alleviation to win the critical battle of poverty reduction by 2020.

“More than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty, which is a miracle in the history of poverty reduction,” she said.

“Africa, and Zambia in particular, would be looking forward to the Two Sessions to discuss, review and propose ways forward on rural affairs and poverty alleviation,” said the ambassador.

Noting that Zambia plans to take its people out of poverty and into an upper middle income status by 2030, Chibesakunda said Zambia stands ready to cooperate with China in all aspects of socio-economic management.

In this regard, she noted, Zambia envisages mutual benefits with China in areas such as helping connect local farmers with consumers using e-commerce and modern logistics services, tax breaks, funding support and other favorable policies to attract young entrepreneurs back to the countryside and engage in commercial farming.

While striving to end poverty domestically, China has been actively engaged in South-South Cooperation for common development. According to Chibesakunda, the FOCAC Beijing Summit successfully held in September, 2018 was a milestone in the history of China-Africa relations.

Outcomes of the summit, she added, have continued to produce a number of satisfying early results that have brought tangible benefits to the Chinese and African people, such as the China-Africa Economic and Trade Export Expo, the second China International Import Expo and the inaugural Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on Agriculture.

China has also sought to promote infrastructure connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative since 2013, Chibesakunda noted. “China’s commitment to the African continent and integration of Africa into the Belt and Road Initiative will contribute significantly to strengthening sustainable trade and investment relations between Africa and China.”

The ambassador firmly believes that China will continue to play a significant role in helping Africa to exploit its development potential by bridging the infrastructure gap.

Chibesakunda said China has demonstrated a strong resolve to assist countries in fighting the spread of COVID-19, supplying various medical supplies to other nations, including Zambia, despite its own challenges at home.

“The current support Africa has received from China in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic gives us hope that China will remain committed to its global commitments,” she added, voicing confidence in the prospects of stronger bilateral cooperation.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, China and Africa will seize new opportunities to enhance communication, deepen unity, and strive for concrete progress in the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit, thus promoting the wellbeing of the 2.6 billion Chinese and African people, she said.

According to the diplomat, Zambia anticipates concluding a number of trade protocols which will open Zambian agriculture, dairy and meat products, among others, to access the Chinese market in the future, presenting immense investment opportunities in such sectors as agriculture, renewable energy, mining and mineral beneficiation, tourism, manufacturing, construction and ICTs.

“The ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers,” Chibesakunda said. “As such, China and Africa will continue to work together to achieve a shared goal of building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future which will eventually turn into a pacesetter for building a shared global community for mankind.” 

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(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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