China moves to eliminate poverty by 2020 …key lessons for Ghana

The government of the People’s Republic of China has said that it is more determined now than ever to end poverty by 2020 and ensure that no citizen of China is left behind.

Working to ensure this is achieved in a country which has a population of over 1.2 billion, the government said it is seeking to do more to help rural communities eliminate extreme poverty in those communities.

In a separate press conference organised by the various ministries in China, every minister showed commitment to how their ministry will help government achieve its aim of eliminating poverty by 2020.

Though they all admitted it is difficult to eliminate extreme poverty, they believe that with determination they can win the battle against the canker. This, the ministers believe, can be made possible through education, science and technology, agriculture, healthcare, development of local industries and creating an enabling environment for private businesses to thrive, among others.

Already, more than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty – including a total of 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas.

This year, the Chinese government intends lifting over 10 million people in rural communities out of poverty. This figure includes about 2.8 million people who will be relocated from inhospitable areas to a more decent living environment.

In his address at the 13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, organised in Beijing, the Premier of State, Li Keqiang, said over the past five years living standards have constantly been improving.

“We will do more to support areas affected by extreme poverty, and the central budget’s newly-enlarged poverty reduction funds and related transfer payments will be weighted toward these areas.

“We will tailor measures to individuals and individual households to ensure that targetted poor populations – including elderly people, people with disabilities, and people with serious diseases – receive the assistance they need,” he said.

Li added that: “Poverty-relief policies will remain unchanged for those already lifted out of poverty while the battle goes on, and the newl- poor and those who slip back into poverty will receive prompt support”.

China’s story is very interesting. From a country that was classified as a developing country just four decades ago, it is now the second-biggest economy in the world after the US.
In the 1970’s, the Gross Domestic Product of China was just 368 billion Yuan (US$58billion), but now the country boasts over 82.7 trillion Yuan in GDP.

Lessons for Ghana @ 61
“The truth, however, is that the state of our nation does not bear out that we have these resources – gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, oil, timber and fertile land. Poverty continues to be our lot.” These were the words of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo when delivering his Ghana Beyond Aid address during celebration of the country’s 61st independence anniversary in Accra.

By 2020, when China is determined to lift its people out of poverty or probably has successfully done so, Ghana will be going to the polls to choose new leaders – and as usual the campaign for the opposition parties will be whether or not people can afford healthcare, education, fuel, and utilities tariffs.

This campaign slogan has always been a weapon for opposition parties during political seasons, but the poverty situation has not improved even though the country has held seven successful elections which have seen a change of power from one political party to the other.

Though Ghana has achieved a level a growth over the years, despite this recorded growth, inequality has been increasing in the country and poverty remains prevalent in many areas.
Unemployment is still high among graduates, as statistics show only 10 percent of them find jobs in their first year after completing school.

The government of President Akufo-Addo has said it is determined to reduce unemployment among the youth through its flagship programmes such as: ‘One district, One factory’, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ as well as the Nations Builders Corps.

The Chinese model of socio-economic development holds a lot of lessons for a country which, at 61, is still struggling to generate enough jobs for its youthful population.