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Dispatching problem of poverty has made world a much better place

By Andrew Moody | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-28 09:20
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Children exercise in a kindergarten in Sansui county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, Guizhou province. Remote rural areas have been particularly big beneficiaries of China's poverty alleviation programs. YANG WENBIN/XINHUA

Success of eradication drive lauded as an extraordinary achievement

Editor's note: As China aims to eliminate extreme poverty and be a "moderately prosperous society" (xiaokang shehui) in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China next year, we talk to leading experts for their take on the country's commitment.

Ian Goldin insists that without China achieving a moderately prosperous society the world would be a lot poorer.

The professor of globalization and development at Oxford University said important targets such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals would be missed and people across the globe, not just in China, would be in a much worse place.

"When you look at the global statistics of poverty reduction, much of what has been achieved has been driven by China," he said.

Goldin, a former economic adviser to the late South African president Nelson Mandela, says the scale of China's achievement in delivering 850 million out of poverty in a little more than 40 years is not widely acknowledged in the West. The world's second-largest economy is set to achieve xiaokang and become a moderately prosperous society in time for the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China next year.

"It is the most rapid poverty reduction by far of any country ever in history," he said. "It is an extraordinary achievement. When you look at the global statistics of poverty, a large part of the progress globally is driven by China. If it had not been for China we'd be far off target in achieving all the UN goals."

Goldin, speaking from Oxford during the UK coronavirus lockdown, looks in his latest book Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years at the important role China has played in global efforts to reduce poverty.

China is right to give priority to eliminating extreme poverty in its own country by the end of this year, he said that poverty is still a massive problem worldwide.

The 65-year-old South African points to World Bank figures showing that 2 billion people live in poverty globally, and in 2015 about 736 million were in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day.

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