Three academics, Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.
These researchers have surely done a very meaningful and significant job. They looked into how to best improve the health of poor children by examining their education, health system, agricultural approach and access to credit. Despite recent dramatic improvements in poverty alleviation, more than 700 million people in our world are still living on extremely low incomes, thus making the reduction of global poverty, in all of its forms, one of humanity’s most urgent problems.
If any sovereign nation can be nominated for the top prize for poverty reduction, China is surely a qualified candidate for it. In my point of view, as the largest developing country with more than 1.3 billion people, the proper and responsible management of China’s own affairs is the greatest contribution the country has ever made to the world. Over the past four decades, China has successfully lifted 800 million of its people out of poverty. This is an unprecedented achievement in human development. To further eradicate poverty, the Central Government has also vowed that there will be no Chinese living beneath the extreme poverty line by the end of 2020.
Poverty alleviation knows no boundaries. During the process of its development, China has benefited a lot from the wisdom and assistance of other countries, and now it is willing to give a helping hand and share its wisdom with people from poorer countries.
Facts have shown that the improvement of bilateral trade is a phenomenal tool for China to use to help poorer nations shake off poverty. It is good to see that more than 3,000 companies from over 150 countries and regions participated in the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), which was held in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10. The participating companies came from not only member states of the G20, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as well as 60 countries along the Belt and Road, but also a special group that aroused my attention. They are 40 of the world’s least developed countries listed by the U.N., including Nepal, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.
In order to facilitate the participation and trade of companies from these poorer countries, China has extended many preferential policies, such as exemption of participation and booth fees and discounts on the cost of shipping and transport of their displays to Shanghai.
With Nepal as an example, as a neighbor country of China, it is famous for Nepalese tea. The taste of Nepalese tea is different from that of Chinese tea. Nepal is well-positioned to capitalize on the beverage trend in China through the Shanghai expo. The country is also optimistic that its tea will serve as an alternative for traditional Chinese tea lovers who want to try something new. Meanwhile, with the improvement of Chinese people’s living standard, many products from the rest of the world such as honey, coffee, pepper, hair oil and other organic stuffs are also becoming more and more popular in China.
By inviting companies from 40 least developed countries to the Shanghai expo, China has offered a good opportunity for them to get more access to global markets and meet potential customers from all over the world, something that might not have been possible without the help of the CIIE. Moreover, opening the Chinese market to the world, especially to those poorer nations, by greatly expanding imports from lesser developed countries will not only help end extreme poverty and ensure equality and opportunity for everyone in our planet, but also demonstrate China’s firm support of trade liberalization and economic globalization.
(The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)