The Chinese Model of Sustainable Development: Lessons for Africa

Shawgei Salah Ahmed

In general, economic reform means the sum of measures aimed at addressing the structural imbalances of the national economy. As a result, a transition is made to an open system based on market liberalization and broadening the base of development. In particular, Chinese economic reform means, a term referring to the program of economic reforms called “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and “socialist market economy” in the People’s Republic of China, launched by the reformists within the Communist Party of China – led by Deng Xiaoping – on December 18, 1978.

China has succeeded in raising its per capita GDP by more than 40 times from 155 dollars per capita in 1978 to about 6,400 dollars in 2015, but with that, it remains less than the global average about the additional development necessary, after three decades of reform, the economy witnessed China is one of the biggest booms in the world. Much of the agriculture and light industries were privatized, while the state still controlled some heavy industries. Despite the dominance of state ownership in the finance, telecommunications, oil, and other important sectors of the economy, private entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs are still expanding into sectors that were previously designated as public enterprises, and prices have been deregulated and free.

Poverty eradication the Chinese experience:

Since the implementation of reform and opening up in 1978, 770 million people from rural areas of the country have crossed the current poverty line and have been lifted out of poverty.

China has reduced poverty levels and upgraded its economy thanks to its transformation into a manufacturing center for the world, specializing in assembling products locally by relying on relatively cheap labor and exporting cheap goods to all countries. The private sector has played an important role in supporting the growth of the Chinese economy and creating jobs, as private sector companies contributed about 75% of China’s GDP between 2010 and 2012 and contributes 90% of exports. Economic development and the fight against poverty, which is one of China’s most important achievements during the past 70 years, witnessed the huge economic and social leap that China achieved during those years, and how China became the second-largest economy in the world. From 1952 to 2018, China’s GDP increased nearly 174 times, from 67.91 billion yuan to 90.03 trillion yuan.

China has helped more than 700 million people escape poverty since 1978 when it began implementing the reform and opening-up policy. By the end of 2018, the number of rural Chinese people below the national poverty line had fallen to 16.6 million, all of them are expected to be lifted out of poverty by 2020, and the average life expectancy of Chinese has increased from 35 years in 1949 to 77 years in 2018.

The fundamental shift was the growing economy’s adoption of cash crops rather than the cultivation of only rice and grains. Vegetable and meat production has increased dramatically, and Chinese agricultural production is equivalent to what the California vegetable sector produces every two years. Growth in the sector slowed after 1984, with agriculture’s contribution to GDP dropping from 40% to 16%; however, increases in agricultural productivity allowed workers to be freed and allowed to work in industry and services while increasing agricultural production. Restrictions on trade in agriculture were removed and China became a food exporter, in contrast to its history of famine and shortages.

China’s success is also due to a growth strategy based on export-oriented manufacturing, which was successfully used by the Four Asian Tigers starting with Japan in the 1960s and 1970s and other newly industrialized nations.

What Africa must do to catch up with the world?

Nearly sixty years after the great wave of state independence in 1960, sub-Saharan Africa is still searching for a model for its development, which seems crucial to meeting the needs of young people looking forward to the future. Regarding the possibility of measuring the route that was traveled, experts stress the difficulty of providing an accurate description of the evolution of a continent that remains more like a “statistically desert”.

First, Africa should study the sustainable development goals of the United Nations 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063, to promote internal developments such as the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which is a major change factor for the development of the continent, at the regional and national levels. Each country should start making a special strategy integrated with the strategy Continental, African countries must rise together, and it is not feasible for a country to rise alone without the rest, because this will transfer to it the problems of neighboring countries and the cross-state problems, so collective revival is the only solution.

Second, the World Bank says that life expectancy in Africa has increased by 20 years in the last 60 years, driven by advances in medicine despite epidemics of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The population rose from 227 million in 1960 to more than one billion in 2018 and will double in 2050, according to estimates. Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are at the forefront in this regard. Africa is the continent with the largest number of young people in the world. In 2015, more than sixty percent of Nigerians were under the age of twenty, according to the United Nations. African countries should search for ways to preserve African minds within the continent, not only that but also work to preserve the youth force within their borders and work on plans for reverse migration from cities to the countryside through agricultural projects and projects for industrialization based on agricultural products, Projects in terms of financing and marketing products to the African Common Market.

In the conclusion, we can say that the problem of sustainable development in Africa is essentially political, where political stability is the decisive factor in establishing sustainable development and ensuring its sustainability. Everyone agrees on it for the peaceful exchange of power between the ruling regimes at the national level, while ensuring the continuity of the strategic plans of the countries in effect with the change of governments and presidents, and this is the great and basic challenge, without a solution to this problem, it is useless to import any model from the East or the West for sustainable development because The biggest problem is internal, in the African mentality and not in the mechanisms for implementing sustainable development. Unfortunately, the future is not bright at all.

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