China — which has already become the first country in the world to accomplish the UN millennium development goal of reducing poverty by half — has plans to eradicate poverty completely by 2020.
Wu Peng, director of the National Foundation For Poverty Alleviation’s international development department, told Granma that the goal is entirely attainable.
“The government’s current plan consists of lifting 10 million people a year out of poverty, while almost 14 million people saw their status change in 2016 alone. If we continue at this pace, we are fully confident that this can be achieved,” he told the Cuban media outlet.
The plan of total eradication of poverty is part and parcel of its aim to build a “modestly prosperous society and national rejuvenation,” which was determined during the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) 18th National Congress in 2012.
In the last three decades, China, through its “reform and opening” policies, has slashed poverty to such great lengths that only 5.7 percent of the country’s total population live under it.
With a strategic plan of targeting those who live in China’s rural areas — where the poorest live — its measures include providing industry jobs to 30 million people, while offering relocation assistance to another 10 million people to where employment opportunities are, and finally, providing food subsidies and social services to working class populations.
Sichuan, a province in southwestern China, offers a small-scale example of the work that is being done across the country, said Zhang Haipeng, deputy commissioner of the province’s Poverty Reduction and Mitigation Bureau, reported Granma.
According to the Bureau, between 2013 and 2016, the number of people living in poverty fell from six to two million, a decrease from 9.6 percent to 4.3 percent. This achievement came about through the province’s 10-point plan, authorities explained, which includes providing poor citizens with food and clothing, housing benefits, education, and basic medical services, in addition to financing and assistance for local projects.
It is through these policies, officials say, that China has managed to bring an overwhelming 800 million people out of poverty in less than 40 years. Income inequality, which is rising globally, has also been steadily decreasing in China since 2010.
China has also been a leader on a number of other fronts.
The country plans to invest US$366 billion in renewable energy technologies by 2020, creating more than 13 million jobs, and placing Beijing at the forefront of clean energy innovation, according to the Chinese National Energy Administration.
In addition, its Belt and Road Initiative, called “the largest single infrastructure program in human history,” currently involves 68 countries and 1,700 development projects all over the world.