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Interview: China's approach to poverty eradication sets new model for development: Nigerian official

Updated: December 9, 2020 Source: Xinhuanet.com
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China's approach to poverty alleviation is "almost magical" and has proved to be a good compliment to other existing models of development across the globe, said a Nigerian official.

In a recent interview with Xinhua in Abuja, Garba Shehu, a spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said China's ability to achieve the goal has also proved that new systems compete against existing models and they can really show better results.

"This gives a challenge to other existing models of development. It challenges them and in a way proves that, perhaps, traditional models for poverty eradication and development are not necessarily reliable," Shehu said. "New systems can be introduced and they can even work better. I think this is what I see coming out of what China has done."

China has vowed to eliminate absolute poverty by the end of this year, 10 years ahead of the poverty-eradication schedule set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, China has recently achieved the feat of removing all remaining counties from the country's poverty list.

Southwest China's Guizhou Province announced two weeks ago that its last nine impoverished counties had been lifted out of absolute poverty, which means all registered impoverished counties in the world's most populous country have shaken off poverty.

Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, more than 700 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70 percent of the global reduction in poverty.

"This is a major achievement. It is almost magical but the results have been delivered," Shehu told Xinhua.

He said what the Chinese model represents is an example that countries across the globe can eradicate poverty, grow their middle class, and, in a way, almost achieve self-sustaining status from the output of the domestic economy.

All nations of the world need to learn that when they grow their domestic economy with resilience, they can stand up to bullying from other nations, according to the Nigerian official.

"What then assures China and nations that are interested in this model is that you can grow your domestic economy to such a point that reliance on foreign aid, though important, does not determine the survival or compromise the independence of a nation; especially in situations as we have seen of late where some countries use trade as a weapon in international relations," he said.

The partnership between China and Africa gives the assurance that African countries can also conquer poverty, Shehu said further, noting "what China achieves and what China puts in place, belongs to Africa."

"When you consider that the major principle behind the relationship between China and Africa is on the basis of sharing... There could be things that China could also learn from Africa. This partnership means sharing. So, we look forward to working with China," he explained.

Nigeria is toeing the line of development with China, Shehu said, pointing to the fact that the Chinese have achieved important goals, such as national transformation and national development over a short period of time, as well as achieving the eradication of poverty, which are also important to Nigerians.

"We have copied several ideas from China. You can see that we are setting up special economic zones around certain products of agriculture and so on, that are produced locally and about six of them are being planned to take off," he said.

To achieve the goal of eradicating absolute poverty, China has pledged to prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas and to fully advance rural vitalization in its new development stage.

The country is improving the quality, efficiency, and competitiveness of agriculture, carrying out rural development initiatives, and giving rural construction an important position in socialist modernization. Efforts are also being made to deepen rural reforms, through which the country is expected to improve the integrated urban-rural development mechanism.

"We are counting a lot on China because, by the bilateral agreement that we have signed, China is actually interested in promoting industrialization in Nigeria, using the special economic zones. They have used them to achieve their development and it is a model we like. We wish that the bilateral agreements will be actualized in no distant future," Shehu added. 

Editor: Yu Huichen