Pakistan needs to follow ‘China’s model’ to alleviate poverty

by Kaswar Klasra 

ISLAMABAD, Mar. 3 (Gwadar Pro) – China took only four decades to pull nearly 800 million of the population out of ‘absolute poverty’, setting an example for developing countries like Pakistan, who are trying hard to alleviate poverty. 

It’s a success story which the world only knew about last week, when President Xi Jinping proudly announced that China has eliminated absolute poverty. Xi made the announcement last week on Thursday amid clapping and desk thumping during a grand gathering held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, to mark the nation’s poverty alleviation accomplishments and honor model poverty fighters. “

With absolute poverty eliminated, China has created another miracle that will go down in history,” Xi said in a televised speech. Bringing approximately 800 million of the population out of absolute poverty in just four decades is a miracle which has just happened in China. President Xi Jinping’s address to the people of China to mark China’s poverty elimination accomplishment, sent positive vibes thousands of miles away in Pakistan where the government has been fighting to eliminate poverty for a long time.

The way China has eliminated absolute poverty in its jurisdiction, is a role model for Pakistan, where millions of people still live below the poverty line. Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the Chinese government’s effort in achieving the milestone and said it was a lesson for Pakistan to learn.

“I want to congratulate President Xi Jinping & the Chinese government for the momentous achievement of eradicating extreme poverty in their country. Never before in history have 750 million people been taken out of extreme poverty in a span of 35 years. For developing countries like Pakistan, there are lessons to be learnt With determination and commitment we can do the same for our people, ” Prime Minister Imran Khan remarked last Sunday, a few days after President Xi Jinping’s address. 

Unfortunately, Pakistan has been facing the menace of poverty for a long time. As a result of the introduction of policies and strategies, Pakistan managed to reduce poverty headcount ratio from 29.5% in 2013-14 to 24.3% in 2015-16.ng According to a report released by ‘International Growth Center’, in 2015, 50 million people were living below the national poverty line in Pakistan. Since then, the pace of poverty reduction has slowed down primarily due to the macroeconomic crisis resulting from structural economic issues and the lack and inadequate implementation of pro-poor policies. 

As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has taken a multi-dimensional approach and introduced some measures to eradicate poverty, along with specific COVID-19 emergency interventions. However, many challenges still remain., Shockingly, another 10 million people in Pakistan are expected to move into poverty following the pandemic of Covid-19. What Pakistan needs to do is to follow China’s model with determination and a great degree of commitment to eradicate poverty.

As Prime Minister Imran Khan has already pointed out, Pakistan needs to learn from China when it comes to pulling its poor population out of poverty.

Statics given by China’s government revealed that nearly 100 million people have been lifted out of poverty over the past eight years, and nearly 800 million people over the past 40-plus years under China’s policy of reform and opening up. The campaign to end deprivation has been the largest and toughest battle of its kind in human history. China won the battle against absolute poverty in 2020. The victory solved the historical problem of penury that had plagued the Chinese people for thousands of years and the country meets its poverty alleviation targets under the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. 

This is “one of the greatest world stories of the 21st century which can serve as a model for developing countries like Pakistan which have been struggling hard to overcome the menace of poverty.

Following China’s model, Pakistan can simply begin with introducing science and technology in the agriculture sector to help its poverty alleviation efforts. It is worth noting that science and technology were fully exploited by China to help its poverty alleviation efforts, which has increased income for huge batches of farmers. According to the Chinese government’s statistics, since 2012, China’s science and technology community established 1,290 platforms to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas that fostered 77,000 pairs of mutual assistance and dispatched 289,800 experts to rural areas.

Since Pakistan is an agriculture-based economy, therefore it can achieve great results by introducing science and technology in agriculture which can benefit more than 50% of its population.

Historically, agriculture has been crucial to Pakistan’s economic growth and development and remains so even today. The agricultural sector employs almost half of the country’s labor force and supplies key inputs to the country’s manufacturing sector, generating a significant share of export earnings, and nourishes a rapidly growing population.

The pharmaceutical sector in Pakistan is the wider rural economy which consists of small enterprises, transport services, village retail shops, local schools, and clinics, all of which account for an estimated 40 to 57 percent of total rural household income. 

Introducing Sic-tech in Pakistan’s agriculture sector can benefit 40-57% of Pakistan’s population.

Adopting the Chinese model of poverty elimination, Pakistan can get desired results swiftly. According to ‘Chinese Poverty Alleviation Studies’, a report published by‘ New China research, the government of China made sure the rights and interests of women and children were fully protected throughout the country’s journey to eliminate poverty. 

Since 2015, China has provided more than Rmb 61 billion in micro financing to 1.1 million women living in poverty. Through industry, China has helped increase the incomes of more than 4 million women living in poverty. Following China’s model, Pakistan needs to concentrate on women’s empowerment, which makes 48.76% of the total population of Pakistan. It is said that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.

China has achieved desired results by empowering women. Pakistan needs to follow suit. Unfortunately, Pakistan has the highest wage gap in the world, according to the International Labor Organization; women in Pakistan earn 34% less than men on average.2The Global Wage Report 2018/2019 also found women in Pakistan constitute 90% of the bottom 1% of wage earners in the country. According to a report published by the International Monetary fund, Pakistan’s GDP can be boosted by up to 30% by reducing gender inequality. Pakistan needs to learn from its iron-friend China to empower women which can play a due role in eliminating ‘poverty’.’ 

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