BEIJING — In the enormous nation of China, about 70 million people live below the poverty line. This is equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom. The sheer quantity of poor people in this nation made it all the more shocking when China last year announced its plan to eliminate poverty by 2020.
In 2015 at the Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum, China’s President Xi Jinping announced the five-year plan to eradicate poverty.
“If the government takes concrete and effective action, China can lift 10 million people out of poverty every year from 2017 to 2020,” President Jinping announced to the nation.
According to the plan, the remaining 20 million that are unfit to work and left wrestling with poverty will receive financial aid to ensure they rise above the poverty line. This funding will be provided from China’s social security plan.
China has had success in reaching poverty elimination goals before. Since 1978, the country has uplifted 800 million people out of poverty. It was also the first developing country to meet the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations. The U.N. goals included reducing the population living in poverty by half. China achieved this ahead of the 2015 deadline. With that in mind, the 2020 Poverty Reduction Goal in China seems attainable.
Though complete poverty eradication may seem lofty, President Jinping has wasted no time in springing 2020 Poverty Reduction Goal policies into effect: the country has sought to promote tourism in rural poor areas that have scenic appeal, the government has helped with access to microcredit loans, and humanitarian efforts have also been enabled by partnering large institutions with poor villages.
The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) has been largely responsible for most of these efforts. The CFPA is a non-profit organization established in 1989 to better manage domestic and donated funds to alleviate poverty. Some of its programs cover water and livestock, terracing, rebuilding houses, rural education, rural technology training, women’s and children’s health and disaster relief.
The Agricultural Development Bank of China has also been a significant part of the alleviation efforts. The bank has pledged to lend 3 trillion Chinese Yuan to develop rural areas, fund education, build infrastructure and promote crop production.
The government also plans to help 100 million migrants settle into the cities of China to enjoy the public services it offers. The hope is that city growth will aid the economy by increasing consumption and improving investment in infrastructure and public services.
It is clear that both the national leadership and local institutions are dedicated to their 2020 Poverty Reduction Goal. China has a head start compared to some nations regarding poverty research and results. U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark describes China’s data on poverty eradication as thorough and wide-ranging. According to Clark, China collects data at the household level and the industrial level, to both inform poverty reduction strategies and help support economic and environmental management.
Considering China’s historical success, it will be interesting to see if the 2020 Poverty Reduction Goal will be attainable. Nevertheless, in its beginning stage, the plan has already gained notable success.
– Katie Grovatt