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China's sharing of growth has global impact

By Dennis Munene | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-02 09:04
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Photo shows a view of Nansha Port in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province. [Photo provided to]

In the face of global upheavals such as the COVID-19 pandemic and prevailing anti-globalization trends, as demonstrated by the politics of isolation, unilateralism and protectionism, China's remarkable resilience stands unparalleled.

This was evident in the Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Qiang on March 5 at the second session of the 14th National People's Congress during the annual meetings of China's top legislative and political advisory bodies.

Serving as a blueprint for China's quest for modernization in all aspects, the report clearly showed Beijing's efforts to continue pursuing higher-quality economic growth and to appropriately increase economic output. Setting its growth rate target for this year and aligning with the objectives of the 14th Five-Year plan (2021-25), China is projecting GDP growth of around 5 percent. This projection of economic vitality comes at a time when many economies around the world are still facing unprecedented challenges.

In 2017, scholar Joseph Nye Jr said that if a rising China failed to deliver global public goods, this could result in the "Kindleberger trap", a term he coined in reference to a situation in which no country takes the lead in maintaining international institutions.

However, China, in its push for shared prosperity, has ensured that the nation's continued economic success will be shared with the global community. The country has helped to transform the economies of developed as well as developing countries by offering global public goods.

With this noble act of generosity, China has achieved miraculous economic growth in less than four decades. It has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries to becoming the world's second-largest economy, top trader in goods, biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves, and the largest manufacturer. Through its peaceful rise, China has managed to achieve its industrialization goals and has lifted more than 850 million people out of absolute poverty, the largest number in world history.

By December 2020, China had eradicated absolute poverty and achieved the nation's first centenary goal, which was to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021. It has also put over 1.4 billion people on the path toward modernization.

China understands that "success is best when it's shared", as stated by businessman and author Howard Schultz, and its contribution to global economic growth from 2013 to 2021 surpassed that of most developed countries, according to World Bank data.

Today, China is the main trading partner of over 140 countries and regional blocs. Its success has inspired Africa's search for an independent path to recovery in the post-COVID era and modernization in the 21st century, defined by the mantra of an "African Renaissance".

In Africa, China has channeled its offering of global public goods through two interlinked initiatives.

The first is the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, a collective dialogue that began in Beijing in October 2000 as the premier policy forum for China-Africa relations. FOCAC's mandate is to promote the key tenets of Chinese modernization: promoting equal consultation, enhancing understanding, expanding consensus, strengthening friendship and promoting cooperation. Through FOCAC, China has channeled resources to support African development.

This year, the FOCAC summit, to be held in Beijing, will mark 24 years of fruitful, comprehensive and strategic Sino-African cooperation.

The second of the interlinked initiatives is the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, launched in September 2013 to "promote policy coordination, facilitate connectivity, promote unimpeded trade, promote financial integration and foster people-to-people bonds".

Combined, the BRI and FOCAC and other China-proposed global public goods, such as the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, are proof of China's economic growth. This has not only transformed Africa, but the whole world. Furthermore, after the COVID-19 outbreak, China deployed massive resources to contain the disease in Africa and across the world. This helped stabilize the global economy.

The author is executive director of the China-Africa Center at the Kenya-based Africa Policy Institute.

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